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Leica T vs Sony NEX-5R

The Leica T (Typ 701) and the Sony Alpha NEX-5R are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2014 and August 2012. Both the T Typ 701 and the NEX-5R are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Leica has a resolution of 16.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 16 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Leica T
versus
Sony NEX-5R
Leica T   Sony NEX-5R
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Leica T mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
16.2 MP – APS-C sensor 16 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
ISO 100-12,500 ISO 100-25,600
Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
3.7" LCD – 1230k dots 3.0" LCD – 920k dots
Fixed touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
5 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge330 shots per battery charge
134 x 69 x 33 mm, 384 g 111 x 59 x 39 mm, 276 g
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Check T Typ 701 offers at
ebay.com
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Check NEX-5R offers at
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Leica T (Typ 701) and the Sony Alpha NEX-5R? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Leica T and the Sony NEX-5R are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).

Size Leica T vs Sony NEX-5R
Compare T Typ 701 versus NEX-5R top
Comparison T Typ 701 or NEX-5R rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony NEX-5R is notably smaller (29 percent) than the Leica T. Moreover, the NEX-5R is markedly lighter (28 percent) than the T Typ 701. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the T Typ 701 nor the NEX-5R 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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The power pack in the T Typ 701 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica T 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Apr 2014 1,850ebay.com
2.
 
Sony NEX-5R 111 mm 59 mm 39 mm 276 g 330 n Aug 2012 749ebay.com
3.
 
Canon M3 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 n Feb 2015 679ebay.com
4.
 
Canon M10 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499ebay.com
5.
 
Canon 100D 117 mm 91 mm 69 mm 407 g 380 n Mar 2013 549ebay.com
6.
 
Leica TL2 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 399 g 250 n Jul 2017 1,950 amazon.com
7.
 
Leica TL 134 mm 69 mm 33 mm 384 g 400 n Nov 2016 1,695ebay.com
8.
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
9.
 
Leica X2 124 mm 69 mm 52 mm 345 g 450 n May 2012 1,995ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D5500 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 470 g 820 n Jan 2015 899ebay.com
11.
 
Olympus E-M10 II 120 mm 83 mm 47 mm 390 g 320 n Aug 2015 649ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic G7 125 mm 86 mm 77 mm 410 g 350 n May 2015 649ebay.com
13.
 
Sony NEX-3N 110 mm 62 mm 35 mm 269 g 480 n Feb 2013 499ebay.com
14.
 
Sony NEX-5T 111 mm 59 mm 39 mm 276 g 330 n Aug 2013 699ebay.com
15.
 
Sony NEX-F3 117 mm 67 mm 42 mm 314 g 470 n May 2012 599ebay.com
16.
 
Sony NEX-5N 111 mm 59 mm 38 mm 269 g 460 n Aug 2011 699ebay.com
17.
 
Sony NEX-5 111 mm 59 mm 38 mm 287 g 330 n May 2010 699ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The NEX-5R was launched at a markedly lower price (by 60 percent) than the T Typ 701, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the NEX-5R is 2 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.

Leica T and Sony NEX-5R sensor measures

With 16.2MP, the T Typ 701 offers a slightly higher resolution than the NEX-5R (16MP), but the T Typ 701 nevertheless has marginally larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.79μm versus 4.78μm for the NEX-5R) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the T Typ 701 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 7 months) than the NEX-5R, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the T Typ 701 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Leica T (Typ 701) has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12500. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha NEX-5R are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

T Typ 701 versus NEX-5R MP

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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Leica T APS-C 16.2 4944 32781080/30p23.012.7108275
2.
 
Sony NEX-5R APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078
3.
 
Canon M3 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
4.
 
Canon M10 APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365
5.
 
Canon 100D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.811.384363
6.
 
Leica TL2 APS-C 24.1 6014 40144K/30p23.913.3175382
7.
 
Leica TL APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.913.2169081
8.
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
9.
 
Leica X2 APS-C 16.1 4928 3264none23.212.4127574
10.
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
11.
 
Olympus E-M10 II Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
12.
 
Panasonic G7 Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.490471
13.
 
Sony NEX-3N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774
14.
 
Sony NEX-5T APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60p23.613.0101578
15.
 
Sony NEX-F3 APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473
16.
 
Sony NEX-5N APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.612.7107977
17.
 
Sony NEX-5 APS-C 14.0 4592 30561080/60i22.212.279669
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the NEX-5R provides a faster frame rate than the T Typ 701. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the Leica is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The T Typ 701 and the NEX-5R 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. However, optional viewfinders – the Visoflex (Typ 020) for the T Typ 701 and the FDA-EV1S for the NEX-5R – are available as accessories. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Leica T and Sony NEX-5R in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Leica Toptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
2.
 
Sony NEX-5Roptional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0/s n n
3.
 
Canon M3optional n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.2/s Y n
4.
 
Canon M10none n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6/s Y n
5.
 
Canon 100Doptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed Y 1/4000s 4.9/s Y n
6.
 
Leica TL2optional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 7.0/s n n
7.
 
Leica TLoptional n3.7 / 1230 fixed Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Leica X Variooptional n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
9.
 
Leica X2optional n2.7 / 230 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D5500optical n3.2 / 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
11.
 
Olympus E-M10 II2360 n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 8.0/s Y Y
12.
 
Panasonic G72360 n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 7.0/s Y n
13.
 
Sony NEX-3Noptional n3.0 / 460 tilting n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
14.
 
Sony NEX-5Toptional n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0/s n n
15.
 
Sony NEX-F3optional n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 5.5/s Y n
16.
 
Sony NEX-5Noptional n3.0 / 920 tilting Y 1/4000s 10.0/s n n
17.
 
Sony NEX-5optional n3.0 / 920 tilting n 1/4000s 7.0/s n n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The T Typ 701 has one, while the NEX-5R does not. While the built-in flash of the T Typ 701 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The NEX-5R has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the T Typ 701 does not have a selfie-screen.

The T Typ 701 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the NEX-5R uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 Leica T (Typ 701) and Sony Alpha NEX-5R and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Leica TYstereo / mono---2.0Y--
2.
 
Sony NEX-5RYstereo / mono--mini2.0Y--
3.
 
Canon M3Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon M10-stereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon 100DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
6.
 
Leica TL2Ystereo / mono--micro3.0Y--
7.
 
Leica TLYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
8.
 
Leica X VarioYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Leica X2Y- / ---mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D5500Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0Y--
11.
 
Olympus E-M10 IIYstereo / mono--micro2.0Y--
12.
 
Panasonic G7Ystereo / monoY-micro2.0Y--
13.
 
Sony NEX-3N-stereo / mono--micro2.0---
14.
 
Sony NEX-5TYstereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
15.
 
Sony NEX-F3Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---
16.
 
Sony NEX-5NYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
17.
 
Sony NEX-5Ystereo / mono--mini2.0---

Both the T Typ 701 and the NEX-5R have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The NEX-5R was replaced by the Sony NEX-5T, while the T Typ 701 was followed by the Leica TL. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Leica and Sony websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Leica T better than the Sony NEX-5R or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Leica T (Typ 701):

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.7" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 920k dots).
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (400 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale price.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 7 months after the NEX-5R).

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Advantages of the Sony Alpha NEX-5R:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x59mm vs 134x69mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 108g or 28 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (60 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2012).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NEX-5R comes out slightly ahead of the T Typ 701 (9 : 8 points). 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

T Typ 701 08:09 NEX-5R

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Leica T and the Sony NEX-5R 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the T Typ 701 and the NEX-5R in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Leica T3/5......4/54/5 Apr 2014 1,850ebay.com
2.
 
Sony NEX-5R........4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2012 749ebay.com
3.
 
Canon M34/5o..75/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679ebay.com
4.
 
Canon M10..........4/5 Oct 2015 499ebay.com
5.
 
Canon 100D4/5+..78/1004/54/5 Mar 2013 549ebay.com
6.
 
Leica TL23.5/5..3/5..4/54/5 Jul 2017 1,950 amazon.com
7.
 
Leica TL..........4/5 Nov 2016 1,695ebay.com
8.
 
Leica X Vario3/5......4/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850ebay.com
9.
 
Leica X23/5......3/54/5 May 2012 1,995ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D55005/5+..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899ebay.com
11.
 
Olympus E-M10 II4.5/5+ +..80/1005/55/5 Aug 2015 649ebay.com
12.
 
Panasonic G74/5+ +..80/1005/54.5/5 May 2015 649ebay.com
13.
 
Sony NEX-3N3/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499ebay.com
14.
 
Sony NEX-5T........4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2013 699ebay.com
15.
 
Sony NEX-F34/5....74/1004.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599ebay.com
16.
 
Sony NEX-5N3/5+ +..79/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2011 699ebay.com
17.
 
Sony NEX-53/5+ +..71/1004.5/54/5 May 2010 699ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

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Check T Typ 701 offers at
ebay.com
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Check NEX-5R offers at
ebay.com

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Leica T vs Sony NEX-5R

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Leica T Sony NEX-5R
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Leica T mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date April 2014 August 2012
    Launch Price USD 1,850 USD 749
    Sensor Specs Leica T Sony NEX-5R
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.7 mm 23.4 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 370.52 mm2 365.04 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.3 mm 28.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 16.2 Megapixels 16 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4944 x 3278 pixels 4912 x 3264 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.79 μm 4.78 μm
    Pixel Density 4.37 MP/cm2 4.39 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60i Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,500 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 75 78
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.0 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.7 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1082 910
    Screen Specs Leica T Sony NEX-5R
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Viewfinder optional
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.7inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1230k dots 920k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Leica T Sony NEX-5R
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Leica T Sony NEX-5R
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Body Specs Leica T Sony NEX-5R
    Battery Type BP-DC13 NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge330 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging no USB charging
    Body Dimensions 134 x 69 x 33 mm
    (5.3 x 2.7 x 1.3 in)
    111 x 59 x 39 mm
    (4.4 x 2.3 x 1.5 in)
    Camera Weight 384 g (13.5 oz) 276 g (9.7 oz)
    logo
    Check T Typ 701 offers at
    ebay.com
    logo
    Check NEX-5R offers at
    ebay.com

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