Sony NEX-5 Comparison Review
The Sony Alpha NEX-5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was officially introduced in May 2010 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 14 megapixel.
Is the Sony NEX-5 a good camera? The NEX-5 has a Camera Elo of 1529. This rating puts the NEX-5 below average of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the NEX-5 also ranks below average. – Well, the Sony NEX-5 is more than 11 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2010.
|Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses|
|14 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|ISO 200 - 12 800|
|3.0 LCD, 920k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)|
|7 shutter flaps per second|
|330 shots per battery charge|
|111 x 59 x 38 mm, 287 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The physical dimensions of the Sony NEX-5 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Sony NEX-5 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|1.||Sony NEX-5||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||287 g||330||n||May 2010||699|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|3.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|4.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|5.||Sony NEX-5T||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2013||699|
|6.||Sony NEX-5R||111 mm||59 mm||39 mm||276 g||330||n||Aug 2012||749|
|7.||Sony NEX-6||120 mm||67 mm||43 mm||345 g||360||n||Sep 2012||999|
|8.||Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599|
|9.||Sony NEX-5N||111 mm||59 mm||38 mm||269 g||460||n||Aug 2011||699|
|10.||Sony NEX-C3||110 mm||60 mm||33 mm||225 g||400||n||Jun 2011||599|
|11.||Sony NEX-3||117 mm||62 mm||33 mm||297 g||330||n||May 2010||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Sony NEX-5 was launched in the US market at a price of $699. 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 with a 35mm slide
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
The Sony NEX-5 features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Sony NEX-5 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of alternatives.
|2.||Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The NEX-5 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the NEX-5 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Sony NEX-5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Sony NEX-5||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0 / 1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|3.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
|4.||Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|5.||Sony NEX-5T||optional||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
|6.||Sony NEX-5R||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
|7.||Sony NEX-6||2359||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||n|
|8.||Sony NEX-F3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||Y||n|
|9.||Sony NEX-5N||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||n|
|10.||Sony NEX-C3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||n|
|11.||Sony NEX-3||optional||n||3.0 / 920||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.0||n||n|
The LCD screen on the Sony Alpha NEX-5 is flexibly attached to the body. In particular, the LCD can be tilted vertically to facilitate odd-angle shots in landscape orientation. This tilting design is often preferred, for example, by street photographers to a fully articulated, swivel type of LCD attachment, as it is more unobtrusive during shooting than a screen that flips out to the side.
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 NEX-5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Sony NEX-5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Sony NEX-5T||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Sony NEX-5R||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Sony NEX-6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Sony NEX-F3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Sony NEX-5N||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Sony NEX-C3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Sony NEX-3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the NEX-5 handle or perform in practice. 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. This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Sony NEX-5||3/5||+ +||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||699|
|2.||Ricoh GR II||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|3.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|4.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|5.||Sony NEX-5T||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||699|
|6.||Sony NEX-5R||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2012||749|
|7.||Sony NEX-6||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999|
|8.||Sony NEX-F3||4/5||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|9.||Sony NEX-5N||3/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||699|
|10.||Sony NEX-C3||3/5||+ +||..||74/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|11.||Sony NEX-3||..||..||..||70/100||4.5/5||4/5||May 2010||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Sony NEX-5 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the NEX-5.
What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the NEX-5?
The camera has a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Sony equipped the NEX-5 with the BIONZ image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the NEX-5?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 12800.
Can the camera be equipped with an optional viewfinder?
Yes, Sony provides the FDA-SV1 as an accessory (here on amazon) that can be mounted on the hotshoe.
Does the camera have a selfie-friendly screen?
Yes, the LCD-screen of the NEX-5 is flexible and can be turned to be front-facing for capturing selfies.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Sony Alpha NEX-5?
Sony does not publish a shutter rating for the NEX-5. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 100 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 100 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my NEX-5?
Sony embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your NEX-5 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the free online shutter count finder app.
Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Sony NEX-5?
The NEX-5 offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.
Does the Sony NEX-5 feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The NEX-5's flash sync speed is 1/160 sec.
Which battery does the NEX-5 use?
Camera to camera comparisons
If you would like to see a side-by-side review of this and another camera, 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.
|Camera Model||Sony NEX-5|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||May 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 699|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.4 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||365 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||14 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4 592 x 3 056 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.11 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.84 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 12 800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||69|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||796|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen|
|V-logging Friendliness||Front-flip possible|
|Touch Input||No touchscreen|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Battery Type||NP-FW50 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||330 shots per charge|
111 x 59 x 38 mm
(4.4 x 2.3 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||287 g (10.1 oz)|
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