Sony A6000 vs NEX-5N
The Sony Alpha A6000 and the Sony Alpha NEX-5N are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2014 and August 2011. Both the A6000 and the NEX-5N are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The A6000 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the NEX-5N provides 16 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Sony A6000||Sony NEX-5N|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|24 MP, APS-C Sensor||16 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)||ISO 100-25600|
|Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 922k dots||3.0" LCD, 920k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Tilting touchscreen|
|11 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|360 shots per battery charge||460 shots per battery charge|
|120 x 67 x 45 mm, 344 g||111 x 59 x 38 mm, 269 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A6000 and the Sony Alpha NEX-5N? 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 Sony A6000 and the Sony NEX-5N. 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The A6000 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, white), while the NEX-5N is available in two color-versions (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-5N is notably smaller (19 percent) than the Sony A6000. Moreover, the NEX-5N is markedly lighter (22 percent) than the A6000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the A6000 nor the NEX-5N 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog. 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 power pack in the A6000 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. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Sony A6000»||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599||Sony A6000|
|Sony NEX-5N«||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||269 g||460||n||Aug 2011||699||Sony NEX-5N|
|Canon M3« »||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679||Canon M3|
|Canon G7 X« »||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699||Canon G7 X|
|Sony A6300« »||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999||Sony A6300|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A5000« »||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||269 g||420||n||Jan 2014||449||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100« »||110 mm||63 mm||36 mm||283 g||400||n||Aug 2014||549||Sony A5100|
|Sony A3000« »||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-5T« »||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||2776 g||330||n||Aug 2013||699||Sony NEX-5T|
|Sony NEX-5R« »||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-6« »||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||345 g||360||n||Sep 2012||999||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony NEX-F3« »||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599||Sony NEX-F3|
|Sony NEX-C3« »||110 mm||60 mm||33 mm||225 g||400||n||Jun 2011||599||Sony NEX-C3|
|Sony NEX-3« »||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5« »||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||287 g||330||n||May 2010||699||Sony NEX-5|
|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 A6000 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the NEX-5N, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.
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 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-5N 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.
With 24MP, the A6000 offers a higher resolution than the NEX-5N (16MP), but the A6000 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 4.78μm for the NEX-5N). However, the A6000 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 5 months) than the NEX-5N, 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 Sony A6000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A6000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony NEX-5N are 24.6 x 16.3 inch or 62.4 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.6 x 13.1 inch or 49.9 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inch or 41.6 x 27.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The A6000 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Sony Alpha A6000 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha NEX-5N are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the A6000 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the NEX-5N (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.5 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Sony A6000||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82||Sony A6000|
|Sony NEX-5N||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.6||12.7||1079||77||Sony NEX-5N|
|Canon M3||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.8||11.8||1169||72||Canon M3|
|Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71||Canon G7 X|
|Sony A6300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.4||13.7||1437||85||Sony A6300|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A5000||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.8||13.0||1089||79||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80||Sony A5100|
|Sony A3000||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.7||12.8||1068||78||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3N||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.8||12.5||1067||74||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-5T||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60p||23.6||13.0||1015||78||Sony NEX-5T|
|Sony NEX-5R||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.7||13.1||910||78||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-6||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||23.7||13.1||1018||78||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony NEX-F3||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.7||12.3||1114||73||Sony NEX-F3|
|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|
|Sony NEX-5||APS-C||14.0||4592||3056||1080/60i||22.2||12.2||796||69||Sony NEX-5|
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 A6000 provides a higher frame rate than the NEX-5N. It can shoot video footage at 1080/60p, while the NEX-5N is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A6000 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the NEX-5N relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the NEX-5N can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1S. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A6000, the Sony NEX-5N, and comparable cameras.
|Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6000|
|Sony NEX-5N||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5N|
|Canon M3||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||4.2||Y||n||Canon M3|
|Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y||Canon G7 X|
|Sony A6300||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6300|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A5000||none||n||3.0||461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Sony A5100|
|Sony A3000||202||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-5T||optional||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5T|
|Sony NEX-5R||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-6||2359||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony NEX-F3||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||Y||n||Sony NEX-F3|
|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|
|Sony NEX-5||optional||n||3.0||920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n||Sony NEX-5|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The A6000 has one, while the NEX-5N does not. While the built-in flash of the A6000 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The NEX-5N 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 A6000 does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A6000 and the NEX-5N write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A6000 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the NEX-5N 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 Sony Alpha A6000 and Sony Alpha NEX-5N and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Sony A6000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6000|
|Sony NEX-5N||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-5N|
|Canon M3||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon M3|
|Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon G7 X|
|Sony A6300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6300|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A5000||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5000|
|Sony A5100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5100|
|Sony A3000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A3000|
|Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony NEX-5T||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony NEX-5T|
|Sony NEX-5R||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Sony NEX-5R|
|Sony NEX-6||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Sony NEX-6|
|Sony NEX-F3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-F3|
|Sony NEX-C3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-C3|
|Sony NEX-3||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3|
|Sony NEX-5||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-5|
It is notable that the A6000 offers wifi support, while the NEX-5N does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the A6000 and the NEX-5N have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The NEX-5N was replaced by the Sony NEX-5R, while the A6000 was followed by the Sony A6300. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A6000 and the Sony NEX-5N? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A6000:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 16MP) with a 22% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- 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.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 5 months of technical progress since the NEX-5N launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha NEX-5N:
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x59mm vs 120x67mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 75g or 22 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (460 versus 360) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2011).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6000 is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 6 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A6000 and the Sony NEX-5N 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A6000 or the NEX-5N. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 550D vs Sony NEX-5N
- Canon 750D vs Sony A6000
- Canon SX620 vs Sony A6000
- Fujifilm X-T4 vs Sony A6000
- Leica Q Typ 116 vs Sony A6000
- Leica S Typ 007 vs Sony NEX-5N
- Leica X1 vs Sony A6000
- Nikon 1 V2 vs Sony NEX-5N
- Nikon D100 vs Sony NEX-5N
- Panasonic GM1 vs Sony NEX-5N
- Panasonic LX10 vs Sony NEX-5N
- Sony A6000 vs Sony A7R III
Specifications: Sony A6000 vs Sony NEX-5N
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||Sony A6000||Sony NEX-5N|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2014||August 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A6000||Sony NEX-5N|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.6 mm||23.4 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||366.6 mm2||365.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.2 mm||28.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||16 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||4912 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.91 μm||4.78 μm|
|Pixel Density||6.55 MP/cm2||4.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-51200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||82||77|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.1||23.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.1||12.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1347||1079|
|Screen Specs||Sony A6000||Sony NEX-5N|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A6000||Sony NEX-5N|
|Autofocus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||No Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony A6000||Sony NEX-5N|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Body Specs||Sony A6000||Sony NEX-5N|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge||460 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
120 x 67 x 45 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 1.8 in)
111 x 59 x 38 mm
(4.4 x 2.3 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||344 g (12.1 oz)||269 g (9.5 oz)|
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