The Sony NEX5

Quite a few of you have asked me which camera I was using on my trip to Vietnam.

Many of the emails I have received have commented on the colours and quality of the images. I usually shoot with the Canon 5D MKII (I have yet to upgrade to the MKIII) but because I was travelling with only a backpack I wanted a camera that was light and compact. The 5D is an awesome camera but combined with lenses and a tripod it becomes very cumbersome when travelling around.

I have been thinking about buying an NEX5n for some time and so I borrowed my sisters for the trip. The camera itself is light and small enough to fit in a backpack. It’s metal body and metal lenses also make it durable enough to survive travel. Combine it with a lightweight tripod and you have an excellent combination.

I am not going to get into the technical stats of the camera here but rather talk about my experience using it. If you are a technical boffin you will need to do some further research.

The first thing that I noticed about the camera is the awesome colour in each capture. The shots are bright and have a very clear tonal variation that gives sharp details and great balance of contrast vs detail. In bright situations the camera is exceptional. In darkness the cameras low light ability surpasses any other digital camera in this format that I have used to date.

One of my favourite features of this camera is the panoramic photo function. If you are travelling then this feature is amazing and allows you capture long views and sweeping vistas quickly and easily without a loss of picture quality. Simply select the panoramic setting, pan the camera while holding the shutter button and let the camera do the rest. While this setting doesn’t work so well if there is a lot of movement in the shot, because of objects or people moving through the multiple frames it is exception at capturing views.

The next thing that impressed me was the HD video capture. As a blogger I was keen to take a lot of video while I was away to share some of the experiences of my trip. The HD video on the NEX5n was very impressive. Sound quality is good and picture quality is excellent. Again in the low light of the Cu Chi Tunnels the camera held up very well, better than any cameras I have used previously.

The interchangeable lens means that an enthusiastic photographer can still add a variety of good quality light weight lenses to their equipment making this camera ideal for amateurs with a slightly more developed interest in photography.

So what didn’t I like?

Well there are a few things that I found frustrating with this camera.

Firstly, the camera is very compact which is awesome but I found that while I was trying to take photos I was constantly activating the touch screen by mistake. This is a problem when you are trying to take a shot quickly, especially if you do not notice and accidentally change the exposure compensation which is easy to do.

The touch screen menu is a great feature but I found it difficult to navigate quickly when I needed to make fast adjustments to the settings. The screen itself pops out at an angle so that you can see it from above or below but does not move sideways which I found frustrating when trying to take shots in tight spaces where I could not stand behind the camera.

The play back feature is a little confusing as well. I found that it would only play back in the format my last shot was in. Ie. if my last shot was a video it would only play back the videos, and if my last shot was a photo it would only play back the photos. I am sure I could change it in the settings if I could find it but it seems like an odd feature to have there in the first place.

The last thing is the cost. At around $700.00 AUD retail, you need to be serious about your holiday snaps before making this purchase. But once you have the body you have a versatile platform for adding new lenses and accessories that will take your photography to a new level of sophistication.

Despite these things this is an excellent camera and I will definitely be buying one for myself in the near future. On a scale of 1-10 I give it an 8.5