Review of Sony Alpha NEX-5 and two lenses

Today in Radozhiv a review of a non-SLR camera. Sony Alpha NEX5 is a MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera) - mirrorless digital camera with interchangeable lenses. Very interesting instance with huge potential and good opportunities.

View Sony Alpha NEX-5 without a lens

View Sony Alpha NEX-5 without a lens

All in order:

when you pick up the Sony Alpha NEX-5 camera, you get a very interesting impression, it seems like the lens is large and you need to twist the zoom by hand, but on the other hand there is no mirror viewfinder. After using SLR cameras, I just want to lean the camera against my face and see the picture in the viewfinder. Personally, I have been caught in this trick many times. Of course, it will be easier for someone to sight through the screen, but still sighting through the screen makes the camera very similar to ordinary digital compacts.

Example photo on SEL-1855 and Sony Alpha NEX-5

Example photo on SEL-1855 and Sony Alpha NEX-5

Positive aspects of Sony Alpha NEX-5 (as it turned out, quite a lot):

  1. Very large matrix. Attention: this camera uses a matrix from cropped SLR cameras APS-C, because its size is really large and exceeds all digital compacts. Also, the size is larger than in cameras with a 4 \ 3 matrix. Thanks to the large matrix, this camera is interesting. Using a large sensor, you can achieve low noise and good depth of field control. True, in order to cover such an area of ​​the matrix, one needs to use no longer tiny lenses.
  2. Whole 14,2 megapixels CMOS based. More than enough for amateur use. It's more than mine Nikon D90, and more than professional Nikon D3(S)
  3. Video Full HD 1920 × 1080, 1440 × 1080, 640 × 480. For lovers of photos and videos in one small case, the camera gives you the opportunity to shoot with huge resolution. True, an important point 1920 × 1080 can only be shot in AVCHD format, and 1440 × 1080, 640 × 480 in both AVCHD and MP4. By default, there was the MP4 format and I saw the available options only at 1440 × 1080, 640 × 480, which puzzled for 5 minutes in search of 1920 × 1080.
  4. Compactness. The camera is very small. Given the huge sensor - this is a very big plus. However, already with an 18-55 lens it will be quite difficult to put it in a jacket pocket. But with a 16mm fixed lens, you can throw it in your pocket and purse. Personally, such a camera would be suitable for me on a camping trip - small size and good functionality.
  5. Rotary display. True display rotates only upright almost 90 degrees. It would be better if he had more degrees of freedom during rotation.
  6. Easy operation. Easy does not mean comfortable. All control is done through the camera menu.
  7. ISO 200 to 12800Moreover, in on-camera JPEG, even at 6400, a more or less normal picture is obtained. An ordinary digital compact cannot even dream of such working ISOs.
  8. Camera can work with any optics that can be hooked on it. To do this, you need to make the setting "allow the picture without a lens." For lovers of manual optics just a fairy tale. The camera supports metering in any manual, semi-automatic PASM or full automatic mode. Simply put, you can hook on to the camera through an adapter some small cheap fast lens like Helios-44m-4 and get just wonderful photos.
  9. Monitor at 920000 points. Good contrast display.
  10. The camera has just unique panoramic mode. The panorama is made of several pictures. What do you get a perfectly assembled panoramic photo.
  11. With manual focus, the 14x zoom mode is automatically turned onwhich allows you to fine tune. It is also an indispensable and even automatic thing when working with manual optics.
  12. In the camera you will find all the necessary hints by type bar charts, modes, parameters, etc. True, sometimes there are no elementary familiar things. Many features are automatically enabled, such as reducing hand shake, macro and landscape modes.
  13. Fast autofocus. Autofocus has a number of settings and generally gives a normal speed. But always remember that the aftofocus speed depends not only on the camera, but also on the lens. Speed ​​will be lost to SLR cameras, since in Sony Alpha NEX-5 it works by the principle of contrast, in SLR cameras a whole additional system with phase focus sensors is responsible for focusing.
  14. Continuous speed of 7 frames per second. True works without measurement exposure and focus changes for each individual frame. Still 7fps in RAW is impressive. In normal high-speed mode, when focusing after each frame, the camera takes 2.3 frames per second.
Example photo on SEL-1855 and Sony Alpha NEX-5

Example photo on SEL-1855 and Sony Alpha NEX-5


  1. Manage everything through the menu. It takes more time. But that's a compact, not a DSLR.
  2. In automatic mode, a number of settings are not available.
  3. No ISO 100. For example, at the minimum for Sony Alpha NEX-5 ISO 200 and when using the lens aperture from 1.4 to 2.8 you can not fit into the shutter speed, which is 1 \ 4000, I have the same problem on Nikon D40.
  4. Limited set of native lenses. Only special lenses are suitable for the camera. Minolta AF lenses must be used through the adapter.
  5. Price. About 1000 cu The price is comparable to an advanced level SLR camera.
  6. There are no huge number of useful features like conversion from RAW to JPEG
  7. In automatic mode, the camera gives a slight overexposure to 1 \ 3 or even the entire step.
Example photo on SEL-1855 and Sony Alpha NEX-5

Example photo on SEL-1855 and Sony Alpha NEX-5

Interesting moments:

The camera makes an interesting sound when you release the shutter. At first, I thought that the sound was coming from the lens, but then I realized that the shutter movement was audible. Yes, the camera does not have a simple electronic shutter, but curtain slot with shutter speeds from 30 seconds to 1 \ 4000. Moreover, the shutter fires with a very characteristic double-click, from which it might seem that the camera takes two pictures instead of one. The sound gives some moral satisfaction, which is similar to the shutter sound of a SLR camera. And in the camera you can choose aspect ratios 16 to 9 and standard 3 to 2. Actually photo 16 to 9 below.

Photo on SEL-16F28 16 mm F / 2,8 (frame size 16: 9)

Photo on SEL-16F28 16 mm F / 2,8 (frame size 16: 9)

There is background control mode. Pretty interesting thing for lovers. For professionals, I’ll tell you a secret, this function simply closes and opens the diaphragm, making this magic effect of blurring the background.

Panorama on Sony Alpha NEX-5 and SEL-16F28 16 mm F / 2,8

Panorama on Sony Alpha NEX-5 and SEL-16F28 16 mm F / 2,8

Matrix noise - I was pleasantly surprised, as the camera showed excellent results at high ISO. True, I can only judge when viewing the camera JPEG FINE. My Lightroom refused to process Sony Alpha NEX-5 RAW files. Raw files weigh about 14 MB, and JPEG FINE from 2 to 10 MB.

Photo on SEL-16F28 16 mm F / 2,8

Photo on SEL-16F28 16 mm F / 2,8


Sony Alpha NEX-5 is very unusual camera with a curtain shutter but without a mirror viewfinder. The camera has an excellent matrix with high working ISOs. Great as a great photo and video gadget with good quality. Find for 2010.

Overview of SEL-16F28 16mm F / 2,8

Lens view SEL-18200 18-200 F / 3,5-6,3

Lens view

It's funny that this lens is also included, because it is not much wider than 18mm and just a stop brighter than 18mm by 3.5. Rather, it’s a marketing move to show people the possibilities of interchangeable optics. This is a wide-angle fixed lens that gives a viewing angle of 24mm in full frame. The lens does not have a stabilizer. The distortion is pretty strong HA removed by the camera, contrast level. Sharpness was disappointing for a prime lens, it is rather poor up to F8.0, although it is quite suitable for creating panoramas since the edges of the frame are quite sharp. Autofocus is optionally fast. Nothing special. The only serious advantage is its compactness and rather wide angle at 16 mm.

Sample photos on SEL-16F28 16mm F / 2,8 (camera JPEG L, resized + watermark)

Prices for modern Sony cameras in popular stores can look at this link.

All Sony E-mount cameras with APS-C sensor

All Sony E lenses for APS-C

Fix Lenses:

  1. Sony 11 mm f/1.8 (announcement) [2022, black, AliExpress price]
  2. Sony 15 mm f / 1.4 G (announcement) [2022, black, AliExpress price]
  3. Sony 16 mm f/2.8 (overview) [2010, silver, AliExpress price]
  4. Sony 20 mm f/2.8 (announcement) [2013, silver, AliExpress price]
  5. Sony 24 mm f / 1.8 ZEISS ZA (overview) [2011, black]
  6. Sony 30 mm f / 3.5 MACRO (overview) [2011, silver, AliExpress price]
  7. Sony 35 mm f / 1.8 OSS (announcement) [2012, black, AliExpress price]
  8. Sony 50 mm f / 1.8 OSS (announcement) [2011, black/silver, AliExpress price]

Zoom Lenses:

  1. Sony 10-18 mm f / 4 OSS (announcement) [2012, black, AliExpress price]
  2. Sony 10-20 mm f / 4 G PZ (announcement) [2022, black, AliExpress price]
  3. Sony 16-50 mm f / 3.5-5.6 PZ OSS (overview) [2012, black/silver, AliExpress price]
  4. Sony 16-55 mm f / 2.8 G (overview) [2019, black, AliExpress price]
  5. Sony 16-70 mm f / 4 OSS ZEISS ZA (overview) [2013, black, AliExpress price]
  6. Sony 18-50 mm f/4-5.6 (overview) [2014, black]
  7. Sony 18-55 mm f / 3.5-5.6 OSS (overview) [2010, black/silver]
  8. Sony 18-105 mm f / 4 G PZ OSS (announcement) [2013, black, AliExpress price]
  9. Sony 18-110 mm f / 4 G PZ OSS (announcement) [2016, black]
  10. Sony 18-135 mm f / 3.5-5.6 OSS (overview) [2018, black, AliExpress price]
  11. Sony 18-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3 OSS (overview) [2010, silver, AliExpress price]
  12. Sony 18-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3 OSS LE (overview) [2012, black, AliExpress price]
  13. Sony 18-200 mm f / 3.5-6.3 PZ OSS (announcement) [2012, black]
  14. Sony 55-210 mm f / 4.5-6.3 OSS (announcement) [2011, black/silver, AliExpress price]
  15. Sony 70-350 mm f/4.5–6.3 G OSS (announcement) [2019, black, AliExpress price]

Third-party autofocus lenses for Sony E APS-C:

Many interesting manual solutions are provided by Chinese manufacturers and brands. 7Artisans, TTartisan, Meike, Neewer, PerGear, Kamlan, Brightin star, Mitakon Zhongyi, Venus laowaFujian, ARTRALABAstrHori other. Autofocus Speed ​​Boosters are also interesting Viltrox Canon EF -> Sony E 0.71X и Metabones Canon EF -> Sony E 0.71X... List of full-frame cameras and lenses Sony FE (Full Frame E) here

General conclusion

Sony Alpha NEX5 is really very powerful camera with interchangeable optics and good performance. The only thing, at the time of its release, there were very few native optics - only a few lenses.

Materials on the topic

  1. Full frame mirrorless systems... Discussion, choice, recommendations.
  2. Cropped mirrorless systems... Discussion, choice, recommendations.
  3. Cropped mirrorless systems that have stopped or are no longer developing
  4. Digital SLR systems that have stopped or are no longer developing
  5. JVI or EVI (an important article that answers the question 'DSLR or mirrorless')
  6. About mirrorless batteries
  7. Simple and clear medium format
  8. High-speed solutions from Chinese brands
  9. All fastest autofocus zoom lenses
  10. All fastest AF prime lenses
  11. Mirrored full frame on mirrorless medium format
  12. Autofocus Speed ​​Boosters
  13. One lens to rule the world
  14. The impact of smartphones on the photography market
  15. What's next (smartphone supremacy)?
  16. All announcements and novelties of lenses and cameras

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. Many different photographic equipment can be found on AliExpress.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 121, on the topic: Review of Sony Alpha NEX-5 and two lenses

  • Andrei

    I ask for advice.
    I own a Sony F3 with a 16-50 whale lens. The lens is quite fuzzy and it’s not convenient to control the camera.

    I bought a Sony NEX 5t with a portrait lens Sony SEL 50 1.8. The lens is very cool, the camera is very cool, but I encountered this problem. I can’t find solutions, I ask for help!

    The camera specifically does not want to focus on people, especially on children! It is understandable, white hair, rare blond eyebrows, rounded facial features. The device focuses on anything, on any contrasting objects in the background, but not on the faces. About 80% of the frames are out of focus (with a whale lens, the percentage of defocus on faces is about 50%). This negates all the advantages of the apparatus and lens. You can fix it only by manual focus.

    By the way, the advantage of 5t over f3 is only in highlighting objects in focus. Even the touchscreen is not an advantage as the sensor is rather dull ...

  • koba

    Now you can buy this camera and even the Nex-5n for $ 70, or even less. it's just a find!

    • Basil

      The question is what is called, on the forehead - Pentax K-5 or SONY NEX-5N with standard lenses?
      Household shooting for yourself. But movable objects are animals.

      • Michael

        Better neither one nor the other. NEX - contrast focusing is slow anyway. The Pentax K-5 simply has problems with focusing and tenacity, it can't keep track of animals. Well, the cost of native lenses for both systems is higher than that of competitors.

  • Anna

    Tell me, what is the problem with the lightroom? and how relevant is it now in 2020

    • B. R. P.

      I am sure that now everything is in order with the lightroom.

  • Alexander

    Do I understand correctly that on this carcass, lenses from third-party manufacturers (Nikon, Sigma, etc.), even connected via an adapter (adapter), will not automatically focus?

    • B. R. P.

      You understand correctly. Without an adapter, lenses from other manufacturers will not be installed, except for lenses of the same Sigma, for example, designed for this mount, so they will have af.

  • Sergiy

    And how can you go through the video with a camera?
    As soon as I am aware, I know the video. Chi interchangeable by hour of capture, chi є HDMI output and chi can be converted to a clean signal for capturing.

  • Sergiy

    And how can you go through the video with a camera?
    As soon as I am aware, I know the video. Chi interchangeable for an hour, chi є HDMI output and what is it possible to process a clean signal for recording?

    • SashOK

      My comment, as a confirmation of Sergius, may no longer be relevant,
      If you want to buy such a camera and pay attention, then I’ll say that it’s limited by the hour of rent! I use this NEX-5N camera and have shot video on it several times.
      That's approx. after 15-20 minutes without interruption, the camera signals overheating and turns off. Because of which, having spent a lot of important stories. A couple of hv. got through the phone :)
      Then the clarity of video and sound from the microphone is at a high level!

  • Artem

    Tell me how to find out how much the shutter worked on nex5. Through camerashuttercount or is there a programmatic method?

    • Victor

      The information is stored in the exif of the camera shots.

      You will extract it online or on a computer - it does not matter.

    • ba3lur

      ...for Sony, like Nikon, this, unlike Canon, is simply simple... upload the latest file from the camera without distortion or editing to the camera shutter count website

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