Sony NEX-5N: A Surprisingly Compelling Package, with Caveats

Posted in Adorama Rentals, Equipment by Nathan Lee Bush on September 15, 2011

The Sony NEX-5N, with a no-doubt very similar Sony-made 16MP sensor to that found in the Nikon D7000, at half the price, could be quite a catch for filmmakers and photographers alike. For D7000 video shooters (we exist!), and with framerates at 24p and 60p, it’s a tantalizing B camera, especially considering that with adaptors you can throw pretty much any lens on it (although big footnote: the NEX-5N uses the AVCHD codec, while the D7000 uses MOV and H.264, which will lead to color correction issues in post). EOSHD has been playing with the camera and has a great post on how to tweak picture styles for a cinematic look; and video output is impressive. The NEX-5N also inherits the impressive low-light performance of the D7000, blowing its Micro-Four-Thirds competitors out of the water at higher ISOs.

It’s frustrating that Sony has enticed us with such a compelling package in terms of pure specs, while leaving in place the much derided P&S-inspired interface that plagued the previous iterations. To get anything like DSLR-level manual control, you’ll need to double up for the $1200 NEX-7. While the technical differences are not small – The NEX-7 sports the same 24MP sensor Sony packs into its APS-C flagship A77, and a 2.4M dot OLED electronic viewfinder, as well as three customizable direct-access control dials – neither is the price difference. In Steve Huff’s review of the NEX-5N, he doesn’t mince words: “I have to ask myself…For the money does it get any better than this? The answer to that is NO!”

What do you think? Are you compelled by the NEX-5N as a backup camera, or would you go full-bore with the NEX-7?

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3 Responses

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  1. lapdog99 said, on September 15, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    I think so, but I suspect many considering buying the EVF will just go ahead and get the 7. I love my LX5,
    but the manual focus and shutter lag have been bothersome (although the new 2.0 firmware is some help).

    The auto HDR mode and enhanced b&w are really fast, bang/bang/bang.

  2. […] compression quality, the camera maxes out at a 30 fps frame rate, perhaps a dealbreaker when APS-C cameras a tenth of the cost are serving up 1080P 60fps with decent […]

  3. […] would normally default to the higher-end model, are taking a serious look at the 5N. As I argued earlier, if looking at pure image quality and the latest specs, it represents the best value for the money […]

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