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on 28 July 2010
I'd been on the lookout for a better camera for a while but didn't know exactly what I wanted. My point and shoot (an olympus tough) was great on sunny days but really very average at other times. I didn't want an SLR - they seemed far too complicated, and besides you needed a rucksack for all the kit. I toyed with "better" point and shoots (Canon IXUS) and bridge cameras but nothing really caught my fancy. Then one day while internet browsing I saw a preview of the Nex, and I knew that I had found what I was looking for. Back then I didn't even know how good it actually was!

I plumped for the twin lens kit, on the Nex 5. The Nex 5 has a better build quality than the Nex 3 (magnesium vs plastic) and higher quality HD video (1080 vs 720). It just feels nicer in your hand - I think it's a better shape - and also it is remote shutter release compatible - the Nex 3 isn't. So I felt it was worth the extra ££.

What Sony have done is put a full size sensor from an SLR into a beautiful tiny shiny case - so you get superb quality pictures without the SLR size. Add to this the ability to change lenses, shoot in RAW and access manual controls or just be entirely lazy and let the camera work for you, and you have a recipe for success.

I've had it for 3 weeks and have taken photos everyday. Of everything. Kids playing on swings - kids are pin sharp with lovely action blur. Badminton game - sorted. Landscapes and sunsets - I have a different screensaver each day. Macro - pin sharp bumblebees. Portraits - I've snapped some amazing ones. You name it, it shoots it. Perfectly. A lot of my 'best" shots have been on intelligent auto mode - imagine what you could achieve if you knew what you were doing!! I was at a party the other week and ALL the men came to have a play - even those who own pro quality DSLRs were impressed - and everyone wanted one! There is an active sony nex community on flickr - so you can see the shots it is capable of.

So 3 weeks in I'm still not bored (I was photographing blueberries this morning!) and I've really started to experiment with stuff that I'd never have attempted previously. I now - just about - understand shutter speeds, depth of field, f numbers, manual focus, all the different modes and priorities - sometimes i can even set them up right. But the brilliant thing is that I don't have to as the camera will happily do as much or as little as you want. Having all the manual settings probably means I won't get bored for quite some time - and will continue learning!

The lenses are superb - I'm glad I got both. The 18-55mm is great for most snaps - simply a good all-rounder. The 16mm adds some interesting effects (which I'm still learning about) and makes the camera so superbly compact that it goes down to point and shoot size (but DSLR quality).

A few tiny cons (IMHO far far far outweighed by the pros of this amazing camera)
1. The menu system. Because it is so small and neat sony have put all the settings into an electronic menu system. This is a bit irritating initally, as you can't always find the menu you want. I'm getting used to where to find stuff now but it still takes longer to click-click-turn-click-turn-click than to just press a button on a conventional SLR. If they'd put this stuff on the outside however it would have to be a lot bigger and uglier - so I guess that's the trade-off!
2. Limited lens choice - the Nex range use e-mount lenses - as yet only made by Sony, which means they're damned expensive. The proposed 18-200mm zoom has an RRP of £700! The exact same sony alpha mount lens is £500, or about £150 for a generic brand. You can buy a lens adapter (£150) so you can use sony alpha lenses, but you won't have auto-focus or image stabilisation (another reason why the camera is so small - the image stabiliser is in the lenses). Other manufacturers are bringing out adapters (check out ebay) but you then lose aperture control as well. Still hopefully in time Sony will bring out more lenses, and who knows even tamron or sigma may have a go too. The 2 that come with the kit are awesome, so I can't really complain! And I suppose that will always be the problem when you have new technology.
3. You'll turn into a photo geek. I never would have believed it, but it seems to have happened.

I have a lot of toys, but it's a long time since I bought something so "different" and indeed so brilliant, and dare I say, almost life-changing in its ability to enable me to take amazing shots of whatever I choose. I can't urge you strongly enough to buy one, you won't regret it!
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on 26 June 2010
We didn't buy this through Amazon but having been using it for the last week or two now and I felt compelled to leave feedback on the Nex-5 somewhere..

Quite simply, this is a fantastic camera and has far exceeded my (high) expectations. Like the iphone, this camera is a game-changer.

Ok, it doesn't quite live up to the iphone in terms of interface, but the poor reviews regarding UI are to my mind grossly exaggerated. In fact I like it. For some purists I guess the menu may feel slightly different, but I honestly haven't had any problems finding settings and nearly all of what I have wanted to do so far I have found to be readily accessible. It would be a real shame if people were put off from buying and enjoying the NEX-5 based on the nit-picking comments from review sites more used to dealing with professional equipment. I believe people who are interested in the smaller form factor of the NEX range will be quite happy with the balance of level of control and ease of use. Pro's go get yourselves a DSLR! And a tripod. And a bag. And some filters. And a light-meter. And a model. And a studio..

For the non-professional, the NEX-5 everyday stills quality is fabulous. The low-light sensitivity is amazing, especially in HDR mode which works so well even hand-held with live subjects, delivering blur-free results. I honestly haven't used the flash once yet despite using indoors and out at night-time. I love the natural colours you get when not using flash.

The 'background de-focus' (ok - that sounds a bit naff) is ultra-accessible. Just a single click needed and then thumb-wheel control, without the normal worrying about aperture, shutter and ISO settings while your subject loses interest.

The panorama mode delivers incredible results and is SO easy to use and fast. Because it is based on a sweep of a large number of continuous shooting frames each separated by a fraction of a second I believe you are getting a much, much better result than normally achieved using the traditional manual approach and separate photo-editing software.

HD video results are also amazing, indoors and out. This is not a compromise for a dedicated camcorder, in fact far from it. With the NEX5's proper lens optics in play I doubt you'll have often seen better video from non-professional kit.

No doubt Sony will improve on this first generation of NEX cameras in time, but if you want top quality photos and videos from a tiny camera (with proper lenses) that you'll be happy to carry around everywhere then absolutely I would say go for it! You also don't have to be a tech-geek to get great results, though I think there is enough there to make them very happy too.

My only tiny niggle so far is battery life - if you are taking it away for a long weekend you may want to take the charger just in case.
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on 12 May 2011
I was torn between this and a Panasonic Lumix G2. In the end, it came down to one thing: the people who review the NEX 5 are passionate. While most Lumix buyers seem happy, NEX owners seem crazy about the thing.

So I took the plunge. And boy am I happy. Reasons:

1) Picture quality is fantastic - real SLR rivalling stuff.
2) The body is really small. With a 16mm pancake, it passes for a compact and fits in a coat pocket. Even with 18-55 it's light and small.
3) Extremely well made and attractive design. People comment on how it looks a lot.
4) Interface. I like it! A system that gives you full control over the camera while avoiding lots of buttons. Like anything new, it needs a little learning. But only a little.

I used to have a Canon 400D and a Lumix mega-zoom compact. This has replaced both, and I'm very happy indeed.

Having been a big Sony fan 15 years ago I'm pleased to see them come out with hardware that's high quality and genuinely different from the rest of the market. More please!
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on 7 September 2010
I reluctantly started to take photographs digitally around six years ago when my Dad said he felt the quality of pictures could potentially match those of my Olympus SLR. I am now on my third digital camera and feel very happy to have converted.

I have a Sony F828, which takes great photographs but is bulky. I also have a Sony camcorder, which takes good video but is similarly bulky. Combine the wish to take photographs with video and you end up with a rucksack full of photographic equipment before you go anywhere. Another change was therefore called for. I decided to get the Sony NEX-5 with 18-55mm and 16mm lens.

The main reason for purchasing the NEX-5 was its size. It is very compact, lightweight and can easily be stowed away in luggage. The quality of the pictures is fantastic. The supplied battery was able to take 30 minutes of HD video footage and around 100 photographs before it fell below 50% capacity; it had sufficient charge to allow me to spend a full day out sightseeing without running out. I have got a spare battery `just in case' but so far have not needed to change over to use it, even though I take a lot of photographs in a day.

The camera is incredibly easy to use. I took some test shots in my home as soon as the battery had charged (which did not take long); the shots were exposed as though they had been taken with a flash (they were not), even though a brightly lit window featured in more than 50% of the shot my messy desk was perfectly exposed for all to see. The panoramic pictures are a bit gimmicky but good results can be achieved with a bit of perseverance and once you get the hang of it, the joins are difficult to see.

The 18-55 lens provides a reasonable depth of coverage and is definitely worth considering as part of the purchase rather than just the 16mm lens alone.

There is no compromise to the quality of the photographs due to the size of the camera. The only change I would make is to the lens cap; why Sony did not incorporate a slot to enable this to be attached to the body of the camera is odd as it is easily knocked off. That's my only gripe and it feels very minor.
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on 3 January 2011
I have the Sony Nex 5 DB. It is the most versatile and fully fledged compact camera on the market. It is a mini-computer that takes photos and does it very well indeed! If it is quality with compactness you're requiring, this is the camera for you. The instructions are simplicity itself and you get on location hints right there on the viewfinder! These work with exactly the type of photo you are taking at the time. Into the bargain you get the well established face detection but also a new kid on the block SMILE detection! The only thing the camera does not do is say 'CHEESE'. The viewfinder also shows you the picture data and histograms in red, blue & green plus black and white. This mode is switchable so that you can have a clear viewfinder when required. Although the camera lenses are 'E' mount, there are various adaptors available to use several types of lenses. For the most part, the autofocus will not work but with the 'E' mount lenses but you can use other SONY lenses with the 'A' mount adaptor. Other makes of lenses can be used with available third-party adaptors but the quality cannot be guaranteed. It is supplied with a USB connector but it needs a HDMI mini to normal lead to connect to a HD ready television. Having used the camera over the Christmas period, I have found it to be the most simple camera I have ever used. The supplied flashgun is anti-red eye and is easy to fit on top of the camera. I believe the guide number is 7. The lens housings are made of aircraft grade Aluminium and the body is made of Magnesium, giving you a lightness that will enable you to be comfortable taking photos for long periods of time. Here is a link to this magnificent product - Sony NEX5DB Alpha Compact System Camera - 16mm F2.8 and 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Lens Black Take a look and treat yourself to what is truly real value for money!
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on 14 December 2010
Build quality is amazing.

Brilliant in low light.

But the main thing I would like to add:

Sony has released a new update (V 3.0) which changes the manual shoot mode controls. Before, you had to go into the menu and sub menus to change settings, with about 6 to 7 clicks away. Now the soft buttons are customizable, which means if you are in a manual mode, you can set the bottom soft button to be manual focus (hold shutter half way to auto-focus, then hold the bottom soft button to fine tune it) and the middle soft button such that you press it once, then go left or right through 3 menus. I have set mine to HDR mode, ISO and white balance. So now, in AP mode, I can change the aperture just by scrolling the middle scroll wheel, changing the ISO, white balance or HDR mode by clicking the middle button, then going left/right then scrolling, and manually focusing by pressing the bottom soft button. It makes everything much easier, and the best possible way of introducing a menu system to such a small camera. There is nothing to complain about the menu system now (of course, 10% of the time you may need to go into the menu system to change some settings, and it would be easier to have more buttons on the camera, but its such a small camera there would be no room!)
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on 5 August 2010
I have had the nex 5 now for a few weeks, as far as the still photos are concerned, it takes great pics comparable with my nikon slr. Its size is a huge benefit over bulky slr,s.
The lenses are good, the fisheye converter lens is very very good. The build quality is excellent. The interface is not so good, dont get me wrong its not bad its just a little time consuming sometimes you spend longer fiddling around with the menu system than shooting photos. If i had a choice between the nex 5 and my nikon slr i would definitely take the nex 5.

My biggest gripe is the high def recording, the picture quality is very good the sound quality is not so good the microphone is so sensitive it pics up everything, every little movement you make is magnified by the built in microphone, so you hear a lot of noise (bangs and pops). So i bought the optional exterior microphone which i assumed would make things better, it doesn,t it makes things far worse, so for around £80 quid this accessory is not worth it. I suppose some would say well its a camera not a cam corder, and that may be so but for me one of the tempting things about this camera was that it could shoot high quality high definition footage, and it can, but it can not shoot high quality sound.

So to sum up, i like the camera im just a little disappointed about the video.
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on 23 April 2012
I'm a fairly serious photographer and have used SLRs for over 30 years - Prakticas, Olympus OMs and more recently, Canons. I was impressed by the review of the Nex5N in Amateur Photographer and decided that it might find a place alongside my Canon 50D DSLR and PowerShot S95, combining as it does the power of a DSLR with the size & ease of use of a compact. Having used it regularly for the last 3 months, I've found it's capable of producing photos that come close to those taken with my 50D - indeed at ISOs above 1200 there's a lot less noise. Although Sony lenses are considered inferior to those from Canon, these perform well. I tend to use the 16mm pancake more than the 18-55mm zoom and I've invested in both the wide-angle & fisheye attachments. I expected average results as attachments aren't considered as good as prime lenses but these do a good job (not as sharp as the Sigma 10-20mm on the Canon but pretty close).

This camera seems to improve each time I use it. I still have a range of manual Olympus lenses which I can use via a Kiwifotos adaptor (£20) and although aperture & focus are manual, the 'peaking' system of the NEX5N easily identifies the focal points. It's possible to grab an Olympus or Pentax 50mm f1.4 on eBay - excellent glass for less than £60 & an enormous saving on Sony lenses. The menu system is a little idiosycratic if you're used to an SLR (ISO is hidden away under Brightness!) - however you soon get used to it. The automated functions make it ideal for grab-shot street photography or you can select a wide range of manual features from the dial or the touch-screen. The LCD screen, as on most cameras, is not so good on sunny days but this is more than made up for by its articulated arm - great for holding the NEX5N above crowds or grabbing imaginative shots from ground level. It also fits into the pocket of a Barbour jacket, which is not the case for an SLR! Definitely recommended.
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on 10 December 2011
I was waiting for a camera like this for years. A single camera which you can take superb DSLR league pics but still can be adapted to fit in your coat pocket.
Always wanted to take pics of DSLR quality but just couldn't make myself spend a fortune on the body and then spend another fortune on lenses to make use of the previous fortune.

This camera can deliver RAW pictures comparable to Nikon D3100 & D5100. HD video quality is also brilliant(just check Youtube videos)

I bought this to cobble together a cut price camera kit that can deliver brilliant photo quality & versatility equivalent to a much more expensive single brand DSLR kit.
Got this NEX 5 with the standard 2 sony lenses.
Then I got a Sony Nex to Nikon lens adapter.

Got two used Nikon lenses which are 55 -200mm and 70-300mm from Amazon and Ebay for less than £150. The lack of vibration reduction in the Nikon lenses I got, can be compensated by the excellent settings in the camera without hindering photo quality as long as you have decent light conditions. The only compromise in my kit is the low light performance & lack of auto focus capability with my Nikon lenses. By low light I mean a small room with two 15 Watt CFL lamps without flash.

The standard 18-55 sony lens is superb in the dark. Learn the rather odd menu system and you can take beautiful pictures
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on 25 May 2011
Like a lot of people, I wanted to upgrade my point and shoot with a DSLR, but hated the thought of lugging a huge bit of kit around. This is the answer. I compared it to the panasonic and olympus micro four thirds competition, and I really do favour this sony. The sensor is of course larger than the micro four thirds and really does make the difference, especially in low light conditions. The body is tiny, and the grip is perfect for holding one-handed.
I'm no pro, but the features are numerous and easy to use, my photos look fantastic with almost no effort. Some people don't like the menu interface, but I find it quite easy after using normal point and shoots. The kit lenses are very impressive, both in terms of build quality and function.
The additional telephoto lens is very expensive though, but if you look on ebay there are all sorts of attachments so you can use cheaper alternatives (without autofocus though). It doesn't quite match the standard of good DSLRs, but it is that much smaller that you actually want to carry it everywhere, which is a huge positive!
I love this camera and the ease of use and portability with quality results really has made me enthusiastic about photography... a quality piece of kit!
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