Just before the VAT rise kicked in I added to my camera collection. The SONY NEX -5 came out six months ago and, now that Sony have released a few firmware updates, is probably the best value compact system camera on the market today.
Sony have managed to fit an APS-C size sensor inside a tiny body. That’s the same size sensor as in a lot of professional cameras!
The result is professional standard image quality in a camera that costs less than £400 with a lens. To put that into perspective, the sensor inside the NEX-5 is better than the one in the Nikon D300s, and the D300s costs £1000 for the body alone.
However, perhaps the most impressive aspect is the build quality. The NEX-5 is made from magnesium alloy and the kit lens is metal, not plastic. Magnesium alloy is the material that the top pro. cameras are built of (including my Nikon D700) and the NEX-5 has a lovely solid feel. Every entry level SLR is made of plastic and comes with a plastic lens, so Sony are really ahead of the competition in that regard.
At the moment there are only two lenses on offer, but this year should see several more released. The most exciting of those is rumoured to be a fixed lens made by Carl Zeiss. If you have the money you can even buy a little adapter to mount any Leica lens onto the NEX.
Focusing is pretty quick and accurate in good light, especially for a contrast detection system. You have to use the rear LCD screen to compose shots, both a good and bad thing, but the resolution is excellent. I’ll wait to give a final verdict until I’ve had a good few months of use, but first impressions are that the Sony NEX-5 is a brilliant little camera.
Here are a couple of first shots…