Using the NEX-5 is a breeze though there are some things worth noting.
The camera packs various features into such a sleek and small body. Given the size, there is no external rotating dial to control the shooting mode, this is done via the software interface.
In fact, most of the advanced controls are found inside the menu which may be a good thing for beginngers, but bad for the professional photographers.
Powering up the camera is pretty fast and you can go straight into the shooting mode.
Various shooting modes available include:
P (Program AE) - The camera will control over the shutter speed and aperture.
A (Aperture Priority) - The user can control the aperture while the camera has control and mangement on the aperture.
S (Shutter Priority) - The user can control the shutter speed while the camera manages the aperture.
M (Manual) - The user has total control over shutter speed, aperture other settings such as exposure and also allows the user to shoot using the bulb shutter.
Sweep Paranoma – Probably the most interesting feature in the NEX-5. The camera will perform burst shooting of multiple images and attempts to stitch them up to make a pnorama shot.
All you need to do is to do a constant sweeping arc motion while the camera shoots. You have to be pretty constant and not too fast in your sweeping motion. During our tests, it worked amazingly and the time taken to stitch up is rather fast too. Here is one picture taken using Sweep Paranoma - downsized to 1280 pixels in width to ratio.
click on photo to get a larger version
Anti Motion Blur – A total of six photos are taken at a single press of the shutter, the camera’s AI will determine whether to raise shutter speeds or stop motion blurring. The end result is a single optimized image
SCN (Scene Selection) – Preset modes found in the camera which include Macro, Portrait, Landscape, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night View and Hand-held Twilight.
Intellegent Auto – The camera will manage the settings and using its algorithms to determine the scene and optimize the image according such as controlling the exposure.
Being small and compact, the flash unit is an attachable unit to the camera via the small port. Not much to complain about but caution is advised when attaching the flash, it takes some time to lock on the flash securely as it requires the user to screw the lock into the camera.
Activating the flash is easy, you will just need to push up the flash. To deactivate, just push it down.
Unfortunately, the port to connect the flash unit is not an open-standard hotshoe design. This limits to the amount of accessories you have.
The NEX-5 boasts up to seven frames per second when it is in speed priority mode. Snappy.
Most importantly, it has a sufficient buffer depth of 38 frames in normal shooting and 15 frames in speed priority when taking in JPEG (FINE) format.
When shooting RAW, buffer depth drops to nine frames in standard mode and seven frames in Speed Priority.
The NEX-5′s performance in terms of autofocus is quite good even at dim light. Our initial worries with the NEX-5 falling short as compared to the micro four-thirds were relived after we laid our hands on it.
While it is slower than the high performance DSLRs but at the price you are paying, the NEX-5 is a decent competitor.
HD Video Recording
HD Video recording is getting common nowadays across various camera lineups and Sony, being one of the big players around on the market is not lagging behind.
There is a dedicated button for recording videos which is found on the top of the camera which brings about convenience in doing one-touch recording.
Auto focus is possible in video recording with any NEX-series lens and we are impressed with the video recording under low light. The videos are captured in either AVCHD or MPEG-4, with the former being capable of recording up to 1920x1080i and the latter up to 1440×1080 resolutions.
The results are also amazing even though recording is not done in progressive but interlaced mode.
The NEX-5 uses a custom lithium-ion rechargeable battery and is able to shoot up to about 330 shots (50% based on flash shots), based on CIPA standards, according to SONY. It is not too shabby though we do recommend bringing another battery if you are going for a trigger-happy frenzy during holidays or events.