PW

Sony NEX-5N versus Sony A6000

The Sony Alpha NEX-5N and the Sony Alpha A6000 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2011 and February 2014. Both the NEX-5N and the A6000 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The NEX-5N has a resolution of 16 megapixel, whereas the A6000 provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Sony NEX-5N vs Sony A6000

The physical size and weight of the Sony NEX-5N and the Sony A6000 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the NEX-5N – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Sony NEX-5N vs Sony A6000
Compare NEX-5N versus A6000 top
Compare NEX-5N and A6000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A6000 is notably larger (23 percent) than the Sony NEX-5N. Moreover, the A6000 is markedly heavier (28 percent) than the NEX-5N. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the NEX-5N nor the A6000 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 find an overview of suitable optics 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony NEX-5N» 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.5 oz 460 n Aug 2011 699- i Sony NEX-5N
Sony A6000« 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Canon M« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Sony A6300« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony A3000« » 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony NEX-3N« » 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 480 n Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
Sony NEX-5T« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 97.9 oz 330 n Aug 2013 699- i Sony NEX-5T
Sony NEX-5R« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 9.7 oz 330 n Aug 2012 749- i Sony NEX-5R
Sony NEX-6« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 12.2 oz 360 n Sep 2012 999- i Sony NEX-6
Sony NEX-F3« » 4.6 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.1 oz 470 n May 2012 599- i Sony NEX-F3
Sony RX100« » 4.0 in 2.3 in 1.4 in 8.5 oz 330 n Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
Sony NEX-C3« » 4.3 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 7.9 oz 400 n Jun 2011 599- i Sony NEX-C3
Sony NEX-3« » 4.6 in 2.4 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 330 n May 2010 599- i Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« » 4.4 in 2.3 in 1.5 in 10.1 oz 330 n May 2010 699- i Sony NEX-5

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony NEX-5N vs Sony A6000

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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 A6000 is 1 percent bigger. 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.

Sony NEX-5N and Sony A6000 sensor measures

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). Yet, 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 pixel-units.

NEX-5N versus A6000 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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. Of the two cameras under consideration, the A6000 has a markedly higher DXO score than the NEX-5N (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Sony NEX-5N» APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.612.7107977Sony NEX-5N
Sony A6000« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782Sony A6000
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765Canon M
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785Sony A6300
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780Sony A5100
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979Sony A5000
Sony A3000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878Sony A3000
Sony NEX-3N« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.812.5106774Sony NEX-3N
Sony NEX-5T« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60p23.613.0101578Sony NEX-5T
Sony NEX-5R« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.191078Sony NEX-5R
Sony NEX-6« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.1101878Sony NEX-6
Sony NEX-F3« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i22.712.3111473Sony NEX-F3
Sony RX100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066Sony RX100
Sony NEX-C3« » APS-C 16.0 4912 3264720/30p22.712.2108373Sony NEX-C3
Sony NEX-3« » APS-C 14.0 4592 3056720/30p22.112.083068Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« » APS-C 14.0 4592 30561080/60i22.212.279669Sony NEX-5

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the A6000 provides a faster frame rate than the NEX-5N. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the NEX-5N is limited to 1080/60i.

 

Feature comparison: Sony NEX-5N vs Sony A6000

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony NEX-5N and Sony A6000 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Sony NEX-5N»- n 3.0 920 tilting Y 4000 10.0 n n Sony NEX-5N
Sony A6000«1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6000
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n Canon M
Sony A6300« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n Sony A6300
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n Sony A5100
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 4000 3.5 Y n Sony A5000
Sony A3000« »202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Sony A3000
Sony NEX-3N« »- n 3.0 460 tilting n 4000 4.0 Y n Sony NEX-3N
Sony NEX-5T« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 10.0 n n Sony NEX-5T
Sony NEX-5R« »- n 3.0 920 tilting Y 4000 10.0 n n Sony NEX-5R
Sony NEX-6« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y n Sony NEX-6
Sony NEX-F3« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.5 Y n Sony NEX-F3
Sony RX100« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 2000 10.0 Y Y Sony RX100
Sony NEX-C3« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 5.5 n n Sony NEX-C3
Sony NEX-3« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 7.0 n n Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« »- n 3.0 920 tilting n 4000 7.0 n n Sony NEX-5

Both the NEX-5N and the A6000 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.

Review summary: Sony NEX-5N vs Sony A6000

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Sony NEX-5N better than the Sony A6000 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha NEX-5N:

  • More framing options: Can be equipped with a hotshoe-mounted accessory-viewfinder.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x59mm vs 120x67mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 75g or 22 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (460 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2011).


Advantages of the Sony Alpha A6000:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 16MP), which boosts linear resolution by 22%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/60i).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was released 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.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6000 comes out slightly ahead of the NEX-5N (7 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

NEX-5N 06:07 A6000

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 handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the NEX-5N or the A6000. 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 rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony NEX-5N»HiRec79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2011 699- i Sony NEX-5N
Sony A6000«Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i Sony A6000
Canon M« »Rec-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Sony A6300« »Rec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i Sony A5100
Sony A5000« »Rec-4.5/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i Sony A5000
Sony A3000« »Rec-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i Sony A3000
Sony NEX-3N« »--4.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2013 499- i Sony NEX-3N
Sony NEX-5T« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2013 699- i Sony NEX-5T
Sony NEX-5R« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Aug 2012 749- i Sony NEX-5R
Sony NEX-6« »HiRec78/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999- i Sony NEX-6
Sony NEX-F3« »-74/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 May 2012 599- i Sony NEX-F3
Sony RX100« »HiRec78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649- i Sony RX100
Sony NEX-C3« »HiRec74/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Jun 2011 599- i Sony NEX-C3
Sony NEX-3« »-70/1004.5/55/54/5 May 2010 599- i Sony NEX-3
Sony NEX-5« »HiRec71/1004.5/54/54/5 May 2010 699- i Sony NEX-5

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

vs

    You are here  »   »