They say that the best camera is the one that’s with you. If you’re the kind of person who leaves your camera at home because you find it too bulky, take a moment to read the article below about the SONY NEX-5R...
The Sony Nex-5R (or to call it by its proper name, Alpha NEXF5RKB) is an upgraded version of the NEX-5, which came out in 2010.
This camera has undergone many changes, and although it’s considered to be a compact system camera, it features a 16.1 megapixel APS sensor that’s just as big as on many reflex cameras!
It’s the best of both worlds: a camera that, with its interchangeable lenses, is much easier to carry and handle, and which offers image quality and versatility that at one time could only be found in larger camera bodies.
Although not equipped with a viewfinder, the camera has a three-inch touchscreen with 921,000 dot resolution, which is comparable to low-end reflex cameras.
The touchscreen allows you to select different options or simply take a picture by setting the specific focus point.
The screen also tilts up and down, which comes in handy when shooting over a crowd or from tighter angles. You can also take self-portraits by flipping the screen up 180 degrees (not only that, but when the screen is fully tilted up, a three-second delay timer is activated prior to snapping the picture—handy!).
The NEX-5R also has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, which makes it easy to download photos directly onto a computer connected to the same network without a USB cable.
As for style and ergonomics, the camera is very well designed and has an excellent grip thanks to its nicely curved right side. The buttons are located in easy-to-reach places, including the video record button. The only button that seems slightly “farther” from the rest was the picture review button, which is located at the very top of the camera.
The control dial in the upper right corner of the camera body allows you to quickly adjust the speed or aperture in the semi-auto modes or manual mode.
The camera is not equipped with a built-in flash, but a clip-on flash can be attached to the accessory terminal located at the top of the camera. Aside from that, the camera performs very well in low light (very little noise at ISO 1600 or even 3200), thereby reducing the need for a flash.
The Sony NEX-5R also captures HD videos in AVCHD and MP4 formats with continuous tracking focus, which is perfect for those who prefer not to use manual focus when shooting a video.
When filming in AVCHD format, the camera records 1920x1080 videos of up to 50 images/second, which can make for some interesting slow motion effects. The MP4 format records 1440x1080 videos at 25 images/second.
The camera does not have in-body stabilization, but some lenses are equipped with this feature, if you think it’s necessary.
Speaking of lenses, I also had the opportunity to test the 55-210mm (f4.5-6.3) zoom lens, which comes in quite handy when your subject is far away (at a concert, for instance).
Photography connoisseurs are right when they say that an f4.5-6.3 aperture allows little light to filter through. However, a lens like this comes at a very steep price AND, since the NEX-5R camera performs well at a high ISO—1600, 3200 or even 6400!—you can take sharp pictures without too much noise. Here’s an example I took with an ISO of 6400 (see below).
The camera has a battery life of approximately 330 photos, which is impressive for one without a view finder. To give you a concrete example, I took approximately 50 or 60 photos and recorded about a dozen videos (two to three minutes each) at my daughter’s Christmas concert, which lasted about two hours and 15 minutes, not including the intermission. After all this, I had used up about 60% of the battery.
Finally, the menus offer many options (although I would have liked to have had some sub-menus for each category to avoid having to scroll through the screen so much) and they provide a description detailing what each of these options does when activated or deactivated, which is really handy!
In short, if you’re in the market for a camera that performs almost as well as a DSLR (or reflex), and that you’ll be able to take everywhere with you without feeling weighed down, the Sony NEX-5R is a camera that will most definitely meet your needs.