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Sony NEX-5 Camera review | Control
During the press event in which the Sony NEX-5 was officially introduced, it quickly became clear that Sony is aiming the NEX-5 at the group of users that are looking to move a step up from their compact camera. After having worked with the Sony NEX-5 for a little while, it appears from the user interface and the layout of the menu, that indeed especially the automatic functions are highlighted. The camera’s main menu is divided into six categories that almost without an exception need to be entered in order to change the camera settings. The settings dial that we know from the DSLR or even Micro Four Thirds cameras has been included virtually in the main menu. If you want to ‘turn’ the dial in order to choose different settings, you will have to go into the menu.
Sony NEX-5 | Digital Camera Sony NEX-5 | Digital Camera
Photograph manually with the Sony NEX-5
If you want to dive into the world of photography with self-confidence and use the Sony NEX-5 manually, you have to leave the green zone and deepen your knowledge of the P/S/A/M modes. The user interface is completely focused on the screen and the menu. We found a disadvantage of this approach is that you spend relatively a lot of time in the menu. What we miss are the so-called dedicated or quick buttons, with for example ISO-settings. Due to the buttons on the right side of the display having different functions assigned to them per menu item, the control in the manual mode is less intuitive.

Sony NEX-5 menu settings
The experienced photographer that wants to have the Sony NEX-5 under control will miss the quick buttons with settings such as ISO. From a photographic point of view there is a lack of logic in the layout of the menu. Several settings are found under color/brightness, while other ones are found under camera. Also often certain settings become blocked, because the camera is set to a certain mode. In consequence, many actions have to be made to be able to make the changes. If there would be a physical settings dial present on the camera this would save a lot of time and actions. Sony should make at least one or two buttons programmable so that the creative photographer can get more out of the camera.

Sony NEX-5 menu layout
The panorama function is a prime example of the illogical layout of the menu. You have to choose menu item Record, select panorama, then choose menu item Camera and choose the direction of the movement for the panorama Sweep, and then choose menu item image format and select which format panorama you want. Different and often-used choices spread out over three menu items are not very practical.

Sony NEX camera review
3D Panorama function on the Sony NEX-5
Despite the commentary on the user-friendliness in the manual mode of the Sony NEX-5, there are several innovative functions worth mentioning that make the Sony NEX-5 unique. Just take the 3D panorama function. In this mode it is possible, while holding down the shutter release button, to move the camera in one smooth movement from right to left, to take a perfect panorama photo. The Sweep Panorama mode has two resolutions: standard in 8192x1856 pixels or in an extra wide format of 12416x1856 pixels (horizontal recordings). The maximum file size is 23 Megapixels. 3D is an extra by connecting the camera to a 3D BRAVIA LCD. The panorama photo is displayed in 3D with the possibility to scroll. The experience is fantastic and especially the subjects suitable for 3D appear very impressive. This is just the beginning of what Sony is planning with 3D photography and video. It is expected that the upcoming IFA and Photokina will bring more news about 3D.

Sony NEX-5 delivered with HVL-F7S external flash
Then remains the question about the external flash or the lack of an internal flash. There are different points of view that can be taken. It is a fact that you will need an extra flash in certain circumstances in order to make a good shot. Sony offers a small, folded up flash that can be stored in a small box on the camera’s belt. The mounting of the HVL-F7S, however, is truly far from ideal. Someone with a bit thicker fingers will have trouble mounting the flash well. There should be a more elegant solution to this. The flash itself can be folded up so that the Sony NEX-5 stays nice and compact. When a tele lens is used, it is possible to put a connector between the flash and camera so that it is placed a bit higher and more forward.

Sony camera review
Sony NEX-5 Sony NEX-5
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