Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5

by Enche Tjin on May 12, 2010

Sony has announced Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5, both cameras are mirrorless, interchangeable lens system that use APS-C crop sensor which is equal to DSLR camera quality.

sony-nex5-frontWhat shocked me about these pair is the size of the camera body. It is the smallest and slimmest mirrorless camera up to date beating Olympus E-PL1 and Panasonic GF1. It also beat Ricoh GXR system. Although it is small, it is build from tough but lightweight magnesium alloy body.

However, there are some compromises. Most of the controls are done in the menu via LCD screen. There are also no hot shoe to attach external flash or viewfinder. There are no sensor shift stabilization built-in like Olympus cameras either. Sony opts to use optical based stabilization instead.

Because it has APS-C sensor, which is bigger than micro four thirds sensor, the lens is noticeably bigger and bulkier than micro four thirds system lenses. This is apparent with zoom lenses, especially 18-200mm. Sony plans to launch two lenses, 18-55mm kit lens and 24mm f/2.8 pancake lens. The pancake lens are very small, and well balanced with the small body. Sony also plan to release 18-200mm (super zoom / all around lens) later. These lens has aluminium case which is better than low-end plastic lenses that you find in regular DSLR cameras.

What is these camera for?

This camera is designed for compact camera users that want a significantly smaller camera with interchangeable lens, but does not want to move to DSLR because of the size and interface.

Main specs

  • 14 MP CMOS APS-C sensor
  • 3″ LCD screen
  • ISO 200-12800

NEX-3 : 4.6 x 2.5 x 1.3 in. (117 x 63 x 33 mm)
NEX-5: 4.4 x 2.4 x 1.6 in. (117 x 63 x 33 mm)

Weight: Approx. 17.7 oz (502 g) include batteries, kit lens, 10 oz without lens/batteries

Video recording:
NEX-3: 1440×1080/30p H.264 MPEG-4
NEX-5: 1080/60i AVCHD

NEX-3: $599 with zoom kit lens, $549 with 24mm pan cake lens
NEX-5:  $699 with zoom kit lens, $599 with 24mm pan cake lens

+ and -

+ Very lightweight and compact camera body
+ Magnesium alloy body (NEX-5) only
+ Aluminium lenses
+ Pancake lens complements the small body well
+ Tilting and hi-res LCD screen
+ High Quality images in small body
+ Sweep Panaroma pic and Auto HDR is easy to use for beginners
+/- Adapter to mount Sony/Minolta legacy lenses, but Auto focus won’t work
- Ergonomic, especially when mounted with long zoom lens
- Menu centric control is not as good as traditional dials and buttons
- No electronic viewfinder option
- No built-in flash – but you add-on flash is supplied
- No built-in image stabilization
- No focus confirmation

Some photos:

left to right: Panasonic GF1 vs Sony NEX-5

left to right: Panasonic GF1 vs Sony NEX-5

left to right: Panasonic GF1 vs Sony NEX-5

left to right: Panasonic GF1 vs Sony NEX-5

Sony E lenses, 24mm f/2.8, 18-55mm and 18-200mm

Sony E lenses, 24mm f/2.8, 18-55mm and 18-200mm

Early Reviews and more information

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

nikkorku May 13, 2010 at 1:36 am

Correction :

There is a hidden hot shoe (new mount) to attach external flash (included in the package)
This flash mount also could be attached optical viewfinder (sold separately)

general summary : NEX-3 and NEX-5 are the miniature of Alpha 550 plus HD video recording capabilities.
Amazing image quality !

Enche Tjin May 13, 2010 at 1:48 am

Hi nikkorku, yes I saw them today. But it is not an industry standard right? I hate the way Sony locks up its customers this way.

Enche Tjin May 13, 2010 at 1:49 am

I saw the optical viewfinder, not sure what is the focal length, however, no electronic viewfinder so far i think, maybe later.

nikkorku May 13, 2010 at 2:46 am

wanna to see ISO 3200 performance ?


Flash unit has been included in the package..

Enche Tjin May 13, 2010 at 3:13 am


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