When we first saw the prototype at the PMA 2010, our first reaction was positive, but quickly questions surfaced. And those questions were actually due to the fact that the prototype only showed very little; it did not yet have a clear identity, so to speak. The Sony NEX-5’s final design is very clear and also reminds us of previous Cybershot cameras. The Sony NEX-5 has similarities to the Sony F505, an advanced Cybershot mega zoom camera from 1999. It had a rounder finish then, with a fixed lens and a clearly larger/heavier format, but the whole design appears to have been the forerunner of the Sony NEX-5.
Sony NEX-5 magnesium allow
Still, that is all that can be said. The Sony NEX-5 is truly a camera that’s in between a compact camera and a DSLR. The body has an excellent hand grip and is very flat, especially for a system camera, and due to the magnesium body, Sony has managed to keep the weight remarkably low. In comparison with the current Samsung, Olympus and Panasonic system cameras, the Sony NEX-5's body, with only 239 grams, is about 57 grams lighter than the competition. The camera’s format takes a different turn when the standard 18-55mm f/3.5-6.3 zoom lens is mounted. The lens sticks out far and it becomes difficult to carry the camera in your pocket. Still, that says more about the compact format of the body than about the format of the lens.
Very few buttons on the Sony NEX5 system camera
The amount of buttons, or rather the lack of buttons on the camera is remarkable. We already mentioned this, but besides the changeable lens, the Sony NEX5 does not remind us of a digital SLR camera. The top of the camera has a large format on/off switch, a shutter release button, a review button and a special video-recording button. The back has a multifunctional dial with a button in the middle and above and under the dial, another button for the remaining functions. And that’s it. It must be a record, as this is unknown for a system camera.
Sony NEX-5 LCD screen technology
The back of the Sony NEX-5 has a beautiful 3-inch format LCD screen. It’s beautiful because the display is equipped with Sony’s Clear Photo LCD Plus and Tru Black technology, but it’s especially beautiful due to the possibility of rotating the ultrathin screen 80 degrees upwards and about 45 degrees downwards. It’s an effective solution to be able to photograph above your head or low to the ground. The resolution of 921.600 dots is high and gives a high quality display with a wide viewing angle. The Tru Black technology visibly decreases reflections and ensures for higher contrast when the display is used in full sunlight. In practice, the display is very pleasant to use.
Sony NEX-5 delivered with an external flash
It is remarkable that there is no flash. The Sony NEX-5 may be delivered with an external flash, but mounting it is not very elegant and it also takes up the accessory shoe on which, for example, the optional optical viewfinder or external microphone can be mounted. Different pros and cons can be named while discussing the lack of an internal flash. We will get back to this later.
Sony NEX-5 battery & memory
The Sony NEX-5 uses a NP-FW50 1080mAh Lithium Ion battery that is placed in the compartment hidden in the grip. In the same compartment there is room for a ‘double’ card slot with support for Memory Stick Duo, Pro Duo, SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards. With support for SDXC, there is guaranteed enough storage capacity, as SDXC will grow the coming years to a maximum capacity of 2TB!