Having read all the internet reviews, my main doubts concerned the menu system of the Nex 5, which is generally described as anything from complicated to unusable. I still shoot using medium format and 35mm film, and have the top Sony Alpha A900 with a range of lenses, so I was also doubtful about how I would get on with a camera that didn't have a viewfinder.
I looked at the camera in a shop a couple of times, but because of these misgivings I decided to buy it via the internet, which gave me the option of a return with a full refund. I chose the black version of the body, which I consider looks smarter. However, all the lenses are "silver" colour. I used the camera for a week and could easily have returned it, but I decided to keep it. The menu system is nowhere near as difficult as reviewers would have you believe. I also found working without a viewfinder OK.
Image quality with both lenses is excellent, with slight barrel distortion with the wide angle lens and at the wide-angle end of the 18-55 that needs correcting in P-S or other software. I have shot in most modes, and mostly use aperture priority. The camera tends to overexpose slightly, not quite losing the highlights, but nearly. However, manual correction of the selected exposure is easy and doesn't involve going into the menu system at all.
The panoramic option works fine with both horizontal and vertical orientation of the camera for exterior shots, with apparently faultless stitching of landscapes. It is extremely impressive. On interior shots I found this mode not usable, as the software can't cope with stitching straight lines (such as shelves, doors, etc) without seriously visible errors. But the 16mm lens is very wide, and a converter should be available in the autumn for those who need something wider still. With this exception, image quality is outstanding.
This version of Sony's raw files is different from that on the A900, so the same conversion software won't work, but of course the disk supplied with the camera does a satisfactory job. After starting with jpegs, I am now shooting raw, which is marginally better.
I recommend getting a second battery, as if you spend time examining each shot the battery will run down a bit. As with the A900, I bought the plastic screen protector. I have also ordered the adapter to enable use of Alpha lenses on the Nex. As the Alpha lenses do not have image stabilisation in them, and the Nex does not have stabilisation in the body, this extra is lost, but at least the adapter comes with a tripod bush, and it will probably be necessary to mount the lens (rather than the camera) on a tripod, if using some of the much longer Alpha lenses. Sony's camera case is outrageously expensive, but much cheaper alternatives are available from other manufacturers.
In my opinion, the Nex 5 is a great second camera for a serious photographer who wants the best-possible image quality. It won't quite slip unnoticed into the side pocket of a suit, but does fit comfortably into the pocket of an outdoor jacket. Recommended.
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.
I moved from a Sony Alpha A100 to a NEX-5 and am very impressed. Pictures look better in terms of sharper images and colour reproduction. Haven't found anything wrong with them at all. Higher iso in low light is very good, specially with the hand-held twilight function. Was able to take an in-focus photo at night, on a boat moving one way whilst another moving in the opposite direction, the camera picked it up no problems with me holding it steady blur free. The screen gives extra info and tips but I think the fact that you can see what it is doing and how the shot will look has already helped me take better photos than with the A100.
Negatives I have found so far is the fact that all new accessories are required, for example a smaller bag to carry in, new filters, etc, which can get costly. The larger zoom lens costs more than this dual lens kit! The 1080 video recording has excellent picture and sound quality but I did notice that after about 50 minutes of recording with stop/start in-between the camera showed the high temperature logo on the screen and then later shut off so I had to wait a few minutes for it to cool down. Battery life has suffered to make the camera smaller. The 1050mah battery is capable of half the shots compared to the A100 cameras 1800mah battery. So have already had to purchase a spare one just incase. Lastly the charger that comes with the camera seems slow, at least slower than the A100 as the instructions tell me that it takes a full 4 hours to charge it up to full capacity if it is dead. Even my mobile phone at 1500mah takes less than half that!
Overall best camera I have ever had, and will be selling my older ones but a few niggles above.
I really was looking forward to getting my camera. With the current VAT back that's a fair chunk of change knocked off the price. I opened the box up and set the camera up as per the instructions. HOWEVER there is immediately a glaring omission. THERE IS NO MEMORY CARD INCLUDED SO DON'T FORGET TO ORDER ONE !!!. Luckily I had one floating about in my desk drawer but I have since ordered a better one with fast write features for video and photography work. I've taken a number of pictures now and some of it's very interesting indeed. Just recently I had been using my old DSLR to take some pictures in a low light environment and the space is such that I can't really use a tripod so even the best picture was looking blurry around the edges due to the slow shutter speed. However 1st thing I noticed about the NEX5 is this new feature where it takes multiple pictures of the same image in situations like this then overlays the images on top of each other until it recreates the perfect picture... at least that's what the marketing blurb says but it damn well works !!! I was really impressed. So much so that the cheap strap, lack of a case and a number of other annoying little things just didn't become important. OK so you need to buy some accessories like a case and a decent strap, possibly the microphone for video work etc. However the base unit is fabulous. It's a tiny little camers so slim in fact that it looks very odd. It looks like you're holding a lens and nothing else. The effects though are great. Taken around 100 different types of picture so far all on AUTO (I'm no photographer) and no matter whether it was my son's rugby game, portraits (smile detecotr is really weird and fun), bright day shots, in house dull shots, night shots, even the panaroma sweep. They are all fantastic. Very good and thoroughly recommended. Just don't forget the memory card. The rest you can sort out later. If you like reading reviews please remember to vote and keep the Amazon recommendation system alive !
Low light capability is excellent. Less noise than my Canon 40d, slightly more noise than my 5dmkii, as you'd expect. Image quality is great due to the APS-C size sensor. Could do with a viewfinder that works on lenses other than the 16mm - an EVF would be handy. Sweep panorama is great - takes a bit of getting used to. Upgraded to version 3 of the firmware which allows the "shooting tips" to something more useful like a custom selection or ISO button. I won't be shelling out 80 odd quid for the case though!
The sony nex5 is one of the best camera i have ever purchased. Expensive compare to my other cameras, Was,nt sure but really glad that I purchased it. great pic especially the defocusing of background, perfect pic without the flash. Not used the flash yet.my brother loves it so much that he is going to get one as well.
I have had been looking for a suitable replacement for my trusted Compact Casio for a while & having tried it in my local supplier decided this was the one but was surprised to see the usual trusted on lowest priced Amazon let me down & currently are charging more than £50 over well known Internet suppliers so for the time being I shall wait. Wake up Amazon!!!!
This is one of the best buys I made in the last two years. Not an avid photographer but I do like to see quality when I take photos. I use the Canon G9 previously and the flexibility of more lens made this a great change.
What a pity amazon wasn't able to deliver this to me... I paid first class delivery and after missing the first delivery they were unable to arrange a re-delivery. Got a complete refund but a whole month process for nothing :(