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Thread: Sony NEX-5T review

  1. #1

    Default Sony NEX-5T review

    I was lucky enough to receive a Sony 5T for testing. As a previous 5 and 5N owner, I was definitely interested to find out what this latest iteration of the excellent NEX-5 series has to offer.

    For those of you new to the NEX series, this is Sony's Mirrorless system, and uses an APS-C sized sensor (the same sensor used in DSLR cameras by Sony, Nikon, Pentax, etc) and the lens mount is called the E-mount. Thanks to the design, it basically packs DSLR-quality images into a small form factor and can use adapters to be able to use a huge array of other lenses as well as legacy lenses.

    The NEX system initially started with the NEX-3 (cheap and colorful) and the NEX-5 (as small as possible) and now comprises the 3, 5, 6, and 7 range. As you would expect, 3 is the budget end, while the 7 is the upper range.

    This is now Sony's 4th NEX-5 release. We had:

    2010: NEX-5
    2011: NEX-5N
    2012: NEX-5R
    2013: NEX-5T


    Now, to be perfectly clear, the NEX-5T is a marginal update to the 5R, which introduced wifi connectivity, downloadable apps (like new photo functions, etc), as well as phase detect autofocus sensor points on the imaging sensor itself to help with tracking moving objects. The 5R also added in an extra control dial (like the NEX-6 has) as well as a Fn shortcut button, which the DSLT/RX users recognize and love. What the 5T adds is NFC connectivity (yeah, not too much of an update, but extremely convenient).

    So let's discuss some of the nitty-gritty technical details:


    • Image Sensor: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm), Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor. 16.1 megapixels (4912x3264)
    • Image quality modes: RAW/RAW+JPEG/JPEG Fine/JPEG Standard
    • Picture Effects 11 types (15 variations): Posterization (Color, B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R,G,B,Y), High Contrast Mono, Toy Camera, Soft High-key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Mono, Miniature
    • Focusing: Fast Hybrid AF(phase-detection AF/contrast-detection AF)
    • Focus points: 99 points(phase-detection AF)/25 points(contrast-detection AF)
    • ISO Range: Still images: ISO100 to 25600, AUTO (ISO100 to 3200), Movies: ISO100 to 6400, AUTO(ISO100 to 3200)
    • LCD screen: 3.0" wide type TFT
    • Touch panel: Yes, pressure-sensitive type
    • Number of dots (total): 921,600 dots
    • Adjustable angle: Up by approx. 180 degrees, Down by approx. 50 degrees
    • Other Features: Auto Portrait Framing and Self-Portrait; Face Detection and Smile Shutter; Superior AUTO; Sweep Panorama (2D); Auto HDR; DRO; Hand-held Twilight; Creative Styles; Photo Creativity; Wi-Fi; USB Charge; PlayMemories Camera Apps; NFC
    • Image stabilization: Lens-based OSS
    • Drive Speed: Continuous mode: max. 3 fps, Speed Priority Continuous shooting: max. 10 fps
    • Power: Approx. 330 images (CIPA standard) - though in my experience 400-500 is easily achievable.
    • Dimensions: Approx. 110.8mm x 58.8mm x 38.9mm



    Here she is, with the Sony Power Zoom 16-50 OSS pancake lens:

    Alpha

  2. #2

    Default Re: Sony NEX-5T review

    General usage/handling:

    The NEX-5T handles much like the other NEX-5 cameras. It's not the most comfortable camera to use as it tries to be as small as possible, which leads to an angular design, but it does have a beefy grip that is nicely textured. All controls are easy to reach, though some tactile marking of the Fn button would be welcome.

    Coming from the old 5N, the addition of the top control dial is very welcome, and makes selecting options very easy. Combined with the rear dial, this makes shooting in Manual mode much easier.

    I can't help but get the impression that the 5T is a lot like the 5N that was fused with the RX100MkII. You get the microUSB charging/connection port, the dual control dials , NFC pairing and the Fn button which provides 7 quick shortcuts to commonly-used functions.

    The 16-50 PZ lens is much much smaller than the older original 18-55 kit lens (about half as long when it's switched off). Using the power zoom rocker to zoom in and out felt very off to me - I much preferred turning the dial on the lens, but you don't have the same fine control as you would with an old "manual" zoom lens. Nevertheless, I can see how this would greatly benefit the point-and-shoot upgraders that the NEX-3 and NEX-5 targets.

    Powering up and shooting images was quick and snappy, with AF doing it's job well as well.


    NFC/Wifi and the PlayMemories app:
    Pairing the 5T to my Android phone (which has NFC) was absolutely painless and smooth. Sadly, once connected, the PlayMemories app only allowed me to either select the focus point, or take the picture (with timer, etc). Live view was on the phone screen, of course, but seemd quite laggy. This image could then be transferred to my phone for instant uploading to social networks. A nice function for people who are traveling/outdoors and want to quickly and instantly share an image on facebook, but I feelthat there is a lot more that can be done, such as allowing us to select picture effect modes, Aperture, shutter speed, etc. It's something I hope Sony can improve on.

    Nevertheless, I found the function to be very very handy for some situations, such as:

    • Making sure you are correctly in-frame if the camera is too far away for you to see the camera screen at 180 degrees
    • Taking "ninja" shots of your kids when they think you are just on your cellphone and not at the camera
    • Instantly sharing memories to social networks via your phone connection.
    Alpha

  3. #3

    Default Re: Sony NEX-5T review

    So how is the image quality?

    The Sony 16MP APS-C sensor is a very "Mature" sensor process and has been though many revisions. I decided to put the latest version (found in the NEX-5T) up against one of the very first revisions (found in the A580). The lens on the A580 is the 18-55 kit lens.


    At 50mm (5T) vs 55mm (a580), both at ISO100, f/8, 1/320s, and DRO OFF, JPEG Fine:

    General scene:



    And the 100% center crop:





    What is noticeable right away is that the 5T image is marginally brighter, with less JPEG mush in the trees and generally more detail in the foliage. Definite improvement from Sony to the dynamic range and JPEG engine. Overall sharpness for the buildings and cranes is about the same between both cameras however.

    High ISO:

    I know that a lot of people want to know how the high ISO is, especially considering this is an APS-C sized sensor. So once again, a comparison to the A580:

    General Scene:



    You will note that this picture was taken with the NEx-5T at ISO100, and the 16-50 lens shows quite a bit of ghost flare at the light sources. There was NO FILTER used, this is a definite shortcoming of the lens and did not appear at all on my cheap plastic kit lens on the A580.

    ISO comparisons:



    (for full size, click here
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...6.jpg~original


    Overall, Sony has tweaked about an entire extra stop of ISO noise out of their sensor. ISO 3200 on the NEX-5T looks as good as ISO 1600 on the older a580. That being said, after ISO3200 the image quality quickly turns to mush, and I would really not recommend going above ISO6400 unless really necessary.


    Final thoughts:
    Overall the 5T makes a great advance from the 5N, though only a marginal update to the 5R. Nevertheless, it has excellent image quality, great high ISO capability and comes in a package that is small enough to carry on all your travels, etc.

    People who really want the best IQ and nighttime landscape shooters should avoid the 16-50mm lens though, and consider other lenses such as the older 18-55 kit lens and the new, upcoming e-mount lenses. Or use an adapter and make full use of the excellent legacy lenses and A-mount glass.
    Last edited by Rashkae; 16th October 2013 at 12:00 AM.
    Alpha

  4. #4

    Default Re: Sony NEX-5T review

    hi, a question on nex 5T. i noticed that for the zoom gauge on the screen, after the 50x, it is the digital zoom.
    is there anyway to turn off digital zoom on this camera?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Craven Cottage View Post
    hi, a question on nex 5T. i noticed that for the zoom gauge on the screen, after the 50x, it is the digital zoom.
    is there anyway to turn off digital zoom on this camera?
    There is. Go into the setup menu.

    There will be most likely 2 types of digitally-enhanced zoom modes: Digital Zoom and Clear Zoom.

    You can switch both off if you don't like using them.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Sony NEX-5T review

    Quote Originally Posted by Craven Cottage View Post
    hi, a question on nex 5T. i noticed that for the zoom gauge on the screen, after the 50x, it is the digital zoom.
    is there anyway to turn off digital zoom on this camera?
    Yes, it's exactly as Kei stated. You can switch off the digital zoom completely.
    Alpha

  7. #7
    Moderator keithwee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sony NEX-5T review

    I like the way the review was written.

    Clear, concise and with the info that people in general will be interested in knowing, especially the sections on IQ comparison with a earlier model

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwee View Post
    I like the way the review was written.

    Clear, concise and with the info that people in general will be interested in knowing, especially the sections on IQ comparison with a earlier model
    Well, Rashkae is a thorough reviewer.

    The mods should get him to review the A7 and A7R too

  9. #9

    Default Re: Sony NEX-5T review

    Quote Originally Posted by keithwee View Post
    I like the way the review was written.

    Clear, concise and with the info that people in general will be interested in knowing, especially the sections on IQ comparison with a earlier model
    Thanks! I'm going to add maybe one or two more images, but since it's just a minor update to the 5R there's not much that's groundbreaking. But if you are holding on to an older NEX-3 or 5/5N it's definitely worth a look.
    Alpha

  10. #10

    Default Re: Sony NEX-5T review

    Quote Originally Posted by kei1309 View Post
    Well, Rashkae is a thorough reviewer.

    The mods should get him to review the A7 and A7R too
    I thought you were the one reviewing the sample?
    Alpha

  11. #11

    Default Re: Sony NEX-5T review

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    I thought you were the one reviewing the sample?
    since when?

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kei1309 View Post

    since when?
    Must talk to the mods hahaah
    Alpha

  13. #13

    Default Re: Sony NEX-5T review

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    Yes, it's exactly as Kei stated. You can switch off the digital zoom completely.
    thx kei and rashkae for replying. just wanna check, if after turning off both the digital zoom and clear zoom, the gauge still show the 1.0x to 2.0x after the 50mm, which is the smart zoom does it mean there is a bug in the camera software? thus causing it to not turn it off? does not seem to have any options to turn off
    Last edited by Craven Cottage; 24th October 2013 at 07:12 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Sony NEX-5T review

    Quote Originally Posted by Craven Cottage View Post
    thx kei and rashkae for replying. just wanna check, if after turning off both the digital zoom and clear zoom, the gauge still show the 1.0x to 2.0x after the 50mm, which is the smart zoom does it mean there is a bug in the camera software? thus causing it to not turn it off? does not seem to have any options to turn off
    Means you might be shooting at a smaller resolution than max? Try to shoot at the full 16MP.
    Alpha

  15. #15

    Default Re: Sony NEX-5T review

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    Means you might be shooting at a smaller resolution than max? Try to shoot at the full 16MP.
    yes bro rashkae. thx for helping. the zooms are off after changing to shoot at max resolution. even for medium, zoom is still on. can i ask what is the reason behind it? why must shoot at max then no digital zoom?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Sony NEX-5T review

    Quote Originally Posted by Craven Cottage View Post
    yes bro rashkae. thx for helping. the zooms are off after changing to shoot at max resolution. even for medium, zoom is still on. can i ask what is the reason behind it? why must shoot at max then no digital zoom?
    When you are shooting at a smaller resolution, the camera can use the "extra" pixels as a digital zoom. I admit I'd also prefer if off means off, but they probably had their reasons behind it.
    Alpha

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sony NEX-5T review

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post

    Final thoughts:
    Overall the 5T makes a great advance from the 5N,

    I am one of those who now have a 5N and am considering whether to upgrade to the 5T. Are night shots better with the 5T? Also have you tried the kit 55-210mm lens? Is that lens ok? Thanks.

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by apachesmo View Post

    I am one of those who now have a 5N and am considering whether to upgrade to the 5T. Are night shots better with the 5T? Also have you tried the kit 55-210mm lens? Is that lens ok? Thanks.
    5n to 5T will have an image quality improvement, but hard to say if you'll be able to notice it.
    "Night shots" can cover a very broad spectrum. What kind of night shots?
    No I have not tried the 55-200, but you can read the many online reviews about it
    Alpha

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