Sony Nex-5R – A Camera With Improved Performance And Focusing (Part 3)

6/2/2013 9:19:48 AM

Image quality

Image and video quality, even at high ISO settings, is magnificent. The exposure of the camera is normally accurate, and we have never felt that we need to be risky to go beyond the auto white balance setting, with each shot creating accurate results. We had some problem with the prior NEX model when shooting in tungsten light or steam, but we’re pretty satisfied with the images here. ILC offers ISO 100-25,600 sensitivity range, which has become a standard between the DSLRs and the higher-class mirrorless models.

Image and video quality, even at high ISO settings, is magnificent.

Image and video quality, even at high ISO settings, is magnificent.

The noise-reducing techniques, such as the combination of many images shooting the night scene, and the standard algorithm of the camera, works to reduce noise successfully without much compromise about sharpness at ISO 6400 and down. When you risk trying ISO 12,800 and 25,600, normally there’s a noticeable demotion, but both will do a great job to shoot the web or when you’re stuck. Let’s see some image samples.

The waves pound the shore when the golfers explore a golf course at the hill side near the Tanal Lot temple at Bali. This f/11, 1/160-second exposure will guarantee the sharp details throughput the frame with perfect exposure and accurate color balance.

Changi airport of Singapore has a cinema, pool, and this butterfly garden, are shot with unbelievable clarity with 1/160-second exposure at f/4.

Many kinds of ant live at Southeast Asia, even this little fellow at Singapore botanic garden. Superior Auto shooting mode of 5R shoots a actions accurately with 1/160-second exposure at f/5.6.

A jump to ISO 1250 ensures the sharp details in an area with shade of the Singapore botanic garden, with accurate 1/16-second exposure, f/5.6 and very little noise

Obviously we can process with slow exposure in this still-life scene, but the selected Superior Auto mode of the camera increases the sensitivity to ISO 2000 in order to reduce the risk with shooting speed at 1/160 second at f/4. The colors are totally accurate, regardless of the erratic light, and all needed details are quite sharp.

In aperture priority mode, we set up ISO to 3,200 to shoot the monkeys moving fast in this murky jungle of Indonesia. With the stable hands, 1/80-second exposure at f/5 works well for this family portrait.

The view of the city at night normally presents plenty of challenges even for the highest-class cameras, so we switch to aperture priority mode and increase the kit lens to max level at f/35. We can catch lots of sharp details at 1/60 second and ISO 3200 without making any unpleasant artifact.

You won’t know from the photo below, but this audience scene is extremely dim – we can’t realize any detail with our naked eye. Motion is partially blamed due to the pretty blurred result with 1/6-second exposure at this f/5.6, but ILC does a pretty good job, with some noise can be removed in the process in the camera.

You will definitely realize some familiar faces in the clip below. As the dedicated video button of 5R allows you to record HD clips from inside of most shooting modes, recording motion along with the images is very fast. The focusing effect is amazing, as well as exposure, color balance and sharpness in all of our footage samples. Even the lowlight results are excellent, with little noise appearing.


As manufacturers in other markets, the camera manufacturers have to cope with price sensitivity. Some keep on producing expensive models that offer a little more advantage than the competitor, but Sony understand the demand of maintaining the competitive price range at the beginning, and continue that tradition with 5R. If you have invested in the E-mount ecosystem and have several lenses in hand, you can buy this latest model with 650 USD (only the body). Counting on the advantages it offers compared to the 500USD F3 500, it’s a snip. If you concern about cost more than about performance and design, then NEX-F3 is also worth considering carefully, or you can buy a used C3 with the price of only over 300 USD. If you can pay an extra 200 USD, the upcoming NEX-6 (850 for the body) may be the best choice for high-class users, thanks to the preset OLED electrical viewfinder, separate mode dial and large-sized hot shoe.

Olympus E-M5 is a close competitor with NEX-5R.

Olympus E-M5 is a close competitor with NEX-5R.

Maybe you’re looking for a Micro Four Thirds camera? Olympus E-M5 is a close competitor with NEX-5R, defeating the product of Sony in focusing performance. It’s costly, with 999 USD (body only), but its 2 brothers which have just came out – E-PL5 (700 USD) and E-PM2 (600 USD) – both promise the same focusing speed with cheaper price. The about-to-come Lumix GH3 of Panasonic is worth watching, especially for videographer.


We’ve kept close track of NEX line of Sony, after seeing a huge promise at the first models – NEX-3 and NEX-5. This year’s successors provide even bigger power, and we’re so impressive with 5R. We don’t believe that the closed “app” method of the company is the best for the customers, and the Wi-Fi advantages haven’t proved yet, but the improvements in shooting and focusing have made this ILC compact the winner. Sony has consolidated its committal to the photographer public by a very stable 2012 product line, and anyone who is looking for a flagship camera should keep NEX-5R close to the top of their list.

Anyone who is looking for a flagship camera should keep NEX-5R close to the top of their list.

Anyone who is looking for a flagship camera should keep NEX-5R close to the top of their list.  


·         Much-improved focus performance

·         Excellent image quality and battery life

·         10fps shooting

·         180degree rotating LCD


·         No microphone input

·         The Wi-Fi app problems at release

Key point

·         The 3rd-generation NEX-5 of Sony offers excellent performance with agreeable price.

Sony Nex-5R technical specs

·         Price: $750 (kit)

·         16.1MP CMOS sensor

·         ISO 100-25600

·         Top-plate control dial

·         Dedicated Fn button

·         Wi-Fi for connection via Wi-Fi networks or to smartphones

·         Proprietary in-camera apps

·         Touch-screen display

·         Electronic First Curtain shutter

·         1080p 60p HD movies in AVCHD (50p on PAL region models)


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