Review: Sony NEX-5R compact system camera
Price: $1000 with 16mm-50mm lens
This 16-megapixel compact system camera is the latest development of Sony's NEX range. The overall design has been refined to improve the aesthetic balance of body and lens. When the lens is retracted, it no longer overpowers the body. The NEX bodies have always been petite and this one follows that tradition while packing in all the controls expected on a DSLR. The excellent tilting, high-resolution, 75-millimetre LCD incorporates some touch functions. Wi-fi sharing with smartphones and computers is built in. The camera comes with an external flash unit in a case designed toattach to the camera strap.
The image quality is excellent, as is to be expected from a sensor also used in DSLRs. The wi-fi sharing with smartphones is brilliant — just download the PlayMemories Mobile app and the camera and phone find each other and start communicating in a trice.
This is a beautiful camera, but the beauty is bought at the expense of usability. Even with the touchscreen access, it is a nuisance to have to go into the menus to set the shooting mode. Such basic controls should be on the camera body.
We said of an earlier version of the NEX it was the sensible alternative to a DSLR for most people and that is even more true of the NEX-5R. The range of E-mount lenses is constantly growing, so the NEX-5R is the basis of a system that can be as simple or as serious as the user requires. The APS sensor is shared with a number of DSLRs, not just Sony's, and it performs well in all its manifestations. The simple and straightforward wi-fi setup is the icing on a very attractive cake.