SONY NEX-5N - User Experience Review


Agetan

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2004
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#1
Hello guys,

Thanks for the opportunity given to me by CS and Sony to review the latest Sony NEX-5N.

I remember vividly, when NEX-3 and NEX-5 release in the market, it caught my attention. Being a compact body, APS-C sensor and the ability to have legacy lenses (with adaptor) on it was a great selling point to me.

As a professional photographer who specialises in Available Light Photography of Children and Family and as a parents who would like good quality image without all the bulk associated with big DSLR.

NEX system is at its early development but certainly one of the most interesting development in photography history.

This review will focus solely on the usability of the camera and how it perform using available light, or perhaps lack of the available light. It won't be about its technical specs nor in depth pixel peeping, but it is about how the camera help the photographer get what he wants. It will be short and straight to the point personal opinion on the usability of the camera.

1. Body Size
NEX system (including 5N) is perhaps one of most slimline design camera that I have used so far which feature a big APS-C sensor (read: 1.5x crop). I like the pocketability which allow me to bring it with me anywhere I go.

It is almost identical to its replacement SONY NEX-5, which a couple of slight modification on the body shape. Although it is compact, the grip provided is adequate for someone who don't have a big hand.

I find it difficult to use the LCD and pressing the shutter button using my index finger hence, I choose to use the camera to shoot below eye level and pressing the shutter with my thumb while having another hand on the left controlling the zooming or focusing of the lens. The tilting LCD makes life very very easy. Although, after a prolong use, you will find your eyes a little difficult to adjust its focus point...

With the current "Tru Finder" this eliminate this issue, but at over $300, it is a little pricey. It wasn't supplied at the time of review.

NEX 5 vs NEX 5N



2. ISO performance.
In short, I am impress by the ISO level. However, it is not a huge upgrade from the previous Sony NEX5 but certainly an upgrade. Shooting at ISO 3200 on this little camera gives one all the freedom at very low light level.


3. Responsiveness.
As compared to NEX-5, NEX-5N does give you more "control" as the camera seems to be a lot more responsive and the shutter lag seems to be non-existence even shooting at high ISO. Even with A900 at high ISO, I could feel a little sluggish performance, but 5N change my perception. It is enjoyable... Perhaps due to its 10fps speed, it seems the camera ready when you are...

4. The live-view
Shooting with Live-View is always interesting as it is very very responsive and very minimal lag that I can detect, certainly at a level that I think it is usable.

5. Peaking Level
I believe this is not a new technology, but the ability to use manual focus lenses on this camera with this function gives you the freedom to work faster... actually faster then the AF from the supplied kit lens. I like how it gives you 3 different colour (White, Yellow and Red) and you can use it at different scenario to help you with the manual focus in a very dark area. The accuracy is commendable but only if you are not overly critical about it or using extremely low f-stop. I would say, I have over 90% confident to use this function to get my shot where my eye sight fails me.

So my conclusion is:
For those who is looking for a camera body which you can bring with you anywhere you go and if you have a collection of great manual lenses (such as older Minolta Rokkor, Leica M, etc) this is definitely a camera that worth your attention. The current range of E-Mount lenses are still very limited and the size of the lenses left the system not a lot to be desired if size is the only consideration.

It is a camera that don't take up a lot of space in your bag and I do recommend for those who would like to have 3rd backup camera (after you have 2 very reliable pro specs DSLR), this is a camera to consider.

I had to use it once to shoot one of my clients images using Sony Nex-5 after both of my DSLR were damage due to an accident, of course, the "image" of a professional using a point of shoot is one thing to consider, but at desperation, this camera do produce results that even a client would wonder if it come from a big DSLR or this little camera. It saves my day once...

It is a perfect travelling camera if you want Quality without the bulk. I was really impressed with the quality of Sony NEX-5, hence the 5N is just something is better.... Here are some of my holiday snap http://www.tomato.sg/blog/?p=1045 and can you pick which images were taken using NEX 5 or the A-900 with CZ lenses?

So the question that you may ask, if I already have NEX5, should I "upgrade" to 5N? the answer is not totally easy to answer... Of course, if money is not an issue, go for it... 5N is a much improved version of 5, and with its responsiveness even at very low light level, this camera worth a serious consideration. It feels right on my hand and it certainly gives me the result that I am looking for.

For those who can't wait for the NEX-7 which will be released in Oct 2011, 5N will be a camera that you will enjoy using and you can be sure that with a bit of careful use, this camera can produce very high quality images that rival the big DSLR of the similar quality.


Regards,

Hart
 

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Agetan

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2004
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#3
Here are some images taken at ISO 3200 - It was a Mooncake festival at the condo I live and it was about 7.30pm and almost too dark. The straight out of camera .jpg file at ISO 3200 is amazing.







Some shots at ISO 800 - Details and its really clean with dingy coffee shop lighting...




There rest of the snap shot can be found.... Here

Regards,

Hart
 

kaiphoto

New Member
Dec 4, 2003
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#4
thank u for ur very good review.
 

ed9119

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#5
10fps continuous shooting mode on ANY top end DSLR is already blazingly fast..... to go 10fps on such a small camera body was almost like driving a WRX at full throttle

The following 11 frames were shot at half that speed at Continuous Shooting mode which felt like 4-5fps .... With the camera set at Speed Pirority Continuous ..... just touching off the shutter button at 10fps on this thing is scary plenty




 

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ed9119

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#8
this is 10fps on the little Nex5N ...... please turn up the volume a little to hear it firing off

hmmm..... must say the buffer rate with a regular Class4 card is quite fast too ... only had to wait a short few seconds only before I could let off the 2nd, 3rd and 4th bursts

[video=youtube;xLUJx-SKYo8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLUJx-SKYo8[/video]

[video=youtube;8EZHhBQoHFc]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EZHhBQoHFc[/video]
 

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k3ong5

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Nov 22, 2010
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#9
thanks for the review..

are the pictures taken with the pancake kit lens?..
it doesnt look very sharp..

IMO Nex bodies are great but the E mount lens are not mature yet which is a pity..
 

ed9119

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#10
the moving targets were shot handheld with the kit zoom lens .... ha ha ha I should have asked them to just stop and pose for me next time :)

oh sorry, no post processing or sharpening applied ..... just sized down for uploading

please refer to other info embedded in the exif files
 

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Ouverture

Senior Member
Jan 19, 2009
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#11
thanks for the review..

are the pictures taken with the pancake kit lens?..
it doesnt look very sharp..

IMO Nex bodies are great but the E mount lens are not mature yet which is a pity..
For me, those outdoor daytime shots are plenty sharp.

If you taking about the rest, mind you they are taken at ISO3200, for which IMO is good enough as most cameras at this ISO will not be sharp due to noise suppression.

There will be 3 more lenses coming in Dec for Nex.
 

ed9119

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#12
nope did not hear anything when panning or just shooting video @ stationary

yes there is a little clicking sound in the clip when I shake it around like a pepper shaker when shooting video .... keys and coins in my pocket were rattling noisly too

but then, you will also get that headache-inducing feeling when watching a shaky jerky video clip
 

Ouverture

Senior Member
Jan 19, 2009
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#13
nope did not hear anything when panning or just shooting video @ stationary

yes there is a little clicking sound in the clip when I shake it around like a pepper shaker when shooting video .... keys and coins in my pocket were rattling noisly too

but then, you will also get that headache-inducing feeling when watching a shaky jerky video clip
Thanks for the info ED.

Yeah, there are lots of complaints over at DPreview from 5N users of clicking sound during video....so its good to know it only happens when shaking the camera, which IMO is a stupid way to shoot a video...
 

ed9119

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#14
i will try to demo it via youtube this evening

just get your sea-sick or motion-sickness medication ready lolzzz......
 

wiwidi

New Member
Sep 14, 2011
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#15
nope did not hear anything when panning or just shooting video @ stationary

yes there is a little clicking sound in the clip when I shake it around like a pepper shaker when shooting video .... keys and coins in my pocket were rattling noisly too

but then, you will also get that headache-inducing feeling when watching a shaky jerky video clip

yeah, i read about this also.

does the old NEX5 has this clicking sound too? (during panning video recording)

can some1 do a video test (with quiet backg)
 

ed9119

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#16
the types of requests we put up with .....
without a sound lab at my disposal this will have to do :)
[video=youtube;-zp33ow4Xog]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zp33ow4Xog[/video]

real exciting high point of my day ....... I was swatting a fly at the 17-18 sec mark :bsmilie:
[video=youtube;SWH7B1w8pbk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWH7B1w8pbk[/video]
 

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vicpeh

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May 18, 2009
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#17
Thanks for the hardwork. Now at least I know we're all in the same boat :)
 

wiwidi

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Sep 14, 2011
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#18
btw, does it occur on the older NEX5 or NEXC3 as well? any existing NEX5/C3 users can comment?
 

Sep 2, 2011
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#20
OK, I was initially quite disappointed in this clicking sound news for NEX5N but after trying out my GF3, it also has the same clicking noise during video in a quiet environment and when I try to move faster or shake the camera.

Its not the shoulder strap lug since GF3 doesnt have them.

It also can't be the orientation sensor noise since GF3 also doesnt have it.

So what could it be? My guess probably is the noise coming from the movement of the dust removing mechanism.....

So in summary, the clicking noise in Nex5N is NO issue since it happens to other camera as well.

Here's a video I took this morning with GF3 and 14m lens.

[video=youtube;RnK1hGIkuSw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnK1hGIkuSw[/video]
 

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