Fujifilm X-A1 vs Sony NEX-5
The Fujifilm X-A1 and the Sony Alpha NEX-5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2013 and May 2010. Both the X-A1 and the NEX-5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 16 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 14 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Fujifilm X-A1||Sony NEX-5|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Fujifilm X mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|16 MP, APS-C Sensor||14 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 200-6400 (100-25600)||ISO 200-12800|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||3.0" LCD, 920k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5.6 shutter flaps per second||7 shutter flaps per second|
|350 shots per battery charge||330 shots per battery charge|
|117 x 67 x 39 mm, 330 g||111 x 59 x 38 mm, 287 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Fujifilm X-A1 and the Sony Alpha NEX-5? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Fujifilm X-A1 and the Sony NEX-5. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X-A1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, blue), while the NEX-5 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-5 is notably smaller (16 percent) than the Fujifilm X-A1. Moreover, the NEX-5 is markedly lighter (13 percent) than the X-A1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X-A1 nor the NEX-5 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Yet, since both cameras are based around an APS-C sensor, their respective lenses will tend to have similar dimensions and heft. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Fujinon X Lens Catalog (X-A1) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (NEX-5). Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Fujifilm X-A1»||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||11.6 oz||350||n||Sep 2013||399||Fujifilm X-A1|
|Sony NEX-5«||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||10.1 oz||330||n||May 2010||699||Sony NEX-5|
|Fujifilm X-A5« »||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.6 in||12.7 oz||450||n||Jan 2018||399||Fujifilm X-A5|
|Fujifilm X-A3« »||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||12.0 oz||410||n||Aug 2016||399||Fujifilm X-A3|
|Fujifilm X-A10« »||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.7 oz||410||n||Dec 2016||399||Fujifilm X-A10|
|Fujifilm X-E2S« »||5.1 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||12.3 oz||350||n||Jan 2016||699||Fujifilm X-E2S|
|Fujifilm X-A2« »||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||12.3 oz||410||n||Jan 2015||399||Fujifilm X-A2|
|Fujifilm X-T10« »||4.6 in||3.3 in||1.6 in||13.4 oz||350||n||May 2015||799||Fujifilm X-T10|
|Fujifilm X-E2« »||5.1 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||12.3 oz||350||n||Oct 2013||999||Fujifilm X-E2|
|Fujifilm X-M1« »||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||11.6 oz||350||n||Jun 2013||699||Fujifilm X-M1|
|Fujifilm X-E1« »||5.1 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||12.3 oz||350||n||Sep 2012||999||Fujifilm X-E1|
|Fujifilm X-Pro1« »||5.5 in||3.2 in||1.7 in||15.9 oz||300||n||Jan 2012||1,699||Fujifilm X-Pro1|
|Sony NEX-5R« »||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.7 oz||330||n||Aug 2012||749||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-F3« »||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||11.1 oz||470||n||May 2012||599||Sony NEX-F3|
|Sony NEX-5N« »||4.4 in||2.3 in||1.5 in||9.5 oz||460||n||Aug 2011||699||Sony NEX-5N|
|Sony NEX-C3« »||4.3 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||7.9 oz||400||n||Jun 2011||599||Sony NEX-C3|
|Sony NEX-3« »||4.6 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.5 oz||330||n||May 2010||599||Sony NEX-3|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The X-A1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 43 percent) than the NEX-5, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the NEX-5 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 16MP, the X-A1 offers a higher resolution than the NEX-5 (14MP), but the X-A1 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 5.11μm for the NEX-5). However, the X-A1 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 4 months) than the NEX-5, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Fujifilm X-A1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X-A1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 16.3 inch or 62.2 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 13.1 inch or 49.7 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 10.9 inch or 41.5 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony NEX-5 are 23 x 15.3 inch or 58.3 x 38.8 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 12.2 inch or 46.7 x 31 cm for very good quality, and 15.3 x 10.2 inch or 38.9 x 25.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Fujifilm X-A1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha NEX-5 are ISO 200 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Fujifilm X-A1||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-A1|
|Sony NEX-5||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||1080/60i||22.2||12.2||796||69||Sony NEX-5|
|Fujifilm X-A5||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/15p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-A5|
|Fujifilm X-A3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-A3|
|Fujifilm X-A10||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-A10|
|Fujifilm X-E2S||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-E2S|
|Fujifilm X-A2||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-A2|
|Fujifilm X-T10||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-T10|
|Fujifilm X-E2||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-E2|
|Fujifilm X-M1||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-M1|
|Fujifilm X-E1||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/24p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-E1|
|Fujifilm X-Pro1||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/24p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-Pro1|
|Sony NEX-5R||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.7||13.1||910||78||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-F3||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.7||12.3||1114||73||Sony NEX-F3|
|Sony NEX-5N||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.6||12.7||1079||77||Sony NEX-5N|
|Sony NEX-C3||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||720/30p||22.7||12.2||1083||73||Sony NEX-C3|
|Sony NEX-3||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||720/30p||22.1||12.0||830||68||Sony NEX-3|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the NEX-5 provides a faster frame rate than the X-A1. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Fujifilm is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The X-A1 and the NEX-5 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. That said, the NEX-5 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-SV1. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Fujifilm X-A1 and Sony NEX-5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Fujifilm X-A1||none||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6||Y||n||Fujifilm X-A1|
|Sony NEX-5||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5|
|Fujifilm X-A5||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-A5|
|Fujifilm X-A3||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-A3|
|Fujifilm X-A10||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-A10|
|Fujifilm X-E2S||2360||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-E2S|
|Fujifilm X-A2||none||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6||Y||n||Fujifilm X-A2|
|Fujifilm X-T10||2360||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||8.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-T10|
|Fujifilm X-E2||2360||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-E2|
|Fujifilm X-M1||none||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.6||Y||n||Fujifilm X-M1|
|Fujifilm X-E1||2360||n||2.8||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-E1|
|Fujifilm X-Pro1||1440||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||n||n||Fujifilm X-Pro1|
|Sony NEX-5R||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-F3||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||Y||n||Sony NEX-F3|
|Sony NEX-5N||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5N|
|Sony NEX-C3||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||n||Sony NEX-C3|
|Sony NEX-3||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n||Sony NEX-3|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The X-A1 has one, while the NEX-5 does not. While the built-in flash of the X-A1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The X-A1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the NEX-5 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The X-A1 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the NEX-5 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Fujifilm X-A1 and Sony Alpha NEX-5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Fujifilm X-A1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-A1|
|Sony NEX-5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-5|
|Fujifilm X-A5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Fujifilm X-A5|
|Fujifilm X-A3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-A3|
|Fujifilm X-A10||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-A10|
|Fujifilm X-E2S||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-E2S|
|Fujifilm X-A2||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-A2|
|Fujifilm X-T10||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-T10|
|Fujifilm X-E2||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-E2|
|Fujifilm X-M1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-M1|
|Fujifilm X-E1||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Fujifilm X-E1|
|Fujifilm X-Pro1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Fujifilm X-Pro1|
|Sony NEX-5R||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-F3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-F3|
|Sony NEX-5N||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-5N|
|Sony NEX-C3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-C3|
|Sony NEX-3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3|
It is notable that the X-A1 offers wifi support, while the NEX-5 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the X-A1 and the NEX-5 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The NEX-5 was replaced by the Sony NEX-5N, while the X-A1 was followed by the Fujifilm X-A2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Fujifilm and Sony websites.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Fujifilm X-A1 or the Sony NEX-5 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Fujifilm X-A1:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (16 vs 14MP) with a 7% higher linear resolution.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (43 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 4 months of technical progress since the NEX-5 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha NEX-5:
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
- More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 5.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x59mm vs 117x67mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 43g or 13 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in May 2010).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (6 points each). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Fujifilm X-A1 and the Sony NEX-5 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the X-A1 and the NEX-5 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 50D vs Sony NEX-5
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Fujifilm X-A1
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Fujifilm X70
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Leica Digilux 3
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Leica S Typ 007
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Nikon 1 J4
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Nikon D1
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Nikon D2X
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Olympus TG-6
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Sony A5000
- Leica M Typ 262 vs Sony NEX-5
- Sony A7 vs Sony NEX-5
Specifications: Fujifilm X-A1 vs Sony NEX-5
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Fujifilm X-A1||Sony NEX-5|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Fujifilm X mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2013||May 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Fujifilm X-A1||Sony NEX-5|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.7 mm||23.4 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.95 mm2||365.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||28.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16 Megapixels||14 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4896 x 3264 pixels||4592 x 3056 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||5.11 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.33 MP/cm2||3.84 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200-6400 ISO||200-12800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-25600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||EXR Processor II||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||69|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||796|
|Screen Specs||Fujifilm X-A1||Sony NEX-5|
|Viewfinder Type||No viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Fujifilm X-A1||Sony NEX-5|
|Autofocus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||5.6 shutter flaps/s||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Fujifilm X-A1||Sony NEX-5|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Fujifilm X-A1||Sony NEX-5|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||330 shots per charge|
117 x 67 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
111 x 59 x 38 mm
(4.4 x 2.3 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||330 g (11.6 oz)||287 g (10.1 oz)|
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