Sony Alpha NEX-5N

The Good A small-bodied interchangeable-lens model with excellent video, the Sony Alpha NEX-5N also offers some nice features, including a tilting LCD, EVF port, and a hybrid touch-screen/traditional interface.

The Bad The user interface won't be to everyone's taste, and the body feels almost too small for the typical E-mount zoom lenses.

The Bottom Line An especially good option for people who want a relatively inexpensive ILC for shooting video, the Sony Alpha NEX-5N's photo quality's about the same as its cheaper sibling's.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Image quality 8.0
7.7 Overall

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Price ... $548 Amazon.com $2,795 Amazon.com $1,898 Amazon.com $570 Amazon.com
Design
8
9
8
9
8
Features
8
9
7
9
9
Performance
7
8
8
7
8
Image quality
8
8
8
9
8

Review

Sony Alpha NEX-5N

Slipping into Sony's compact Alpha interchangeable-lens camera line between the not-much-cheaper NEX-C3 and seriously equipped but substantially more expensive NEX-7, the Sony Alpha NEX-5N's solid quality, performance, and features offer surprisingly good value for the money.

The NEX-5N is capable of shooting some very nice photos, and has an excellent noise profile for its price class. JPEGs look clean and artifact-free as high as ISO 400, with a little smearing from noise suppression starting to appear at ISO 800. But even as high as ISO 1600 detail on the main subject looks pretty clean (artifacts do appear on peripheral areas). It will be interesting to see how well the raw version stands up and if there's some latitude to be gained there once the codec is available. Overall, the camera's noise profile and images look very much like the C3's although the choices in the program exposure mode seem to be 1/3-stop darker. But there was even sufficient dynamic range to recover detail on the horribly blown out flash photos produced by the optional bundled flash. The colors are good--accurate and not overly saturated--and it doesn't blow out detail on saturated reds.

If I sound hesitant to call the photos excellent, that's because I think the camera takes a hit on sharpness. Perhaps the kit lens could use some better coatings to improve clarity and brightness, though I shot with the 18-200mm lens as well (which performed better).

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Specs / Prices

  • Brand Sony
  • Digital Camera Type mirrorless system
  • Weight 7.41 oz
  • Sensor Resolution 16.1 pixels
  • Optical Sensor Size (metric) 15.6 x 23.4mm
  • Optical Sensor Type Exmor APS HD CMOS
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