Continued from part 3.
No viewfinder, no hot-shoe, and no out-of-the-box A-mount compatibility
Or put differently, when is the electronic viewfinder being made, why no hot-shoe (for larger, external flash), and why will my Alpha DSLR lenses not auto-focus on my NEX-5? Admittedly, these are minor rants from a prospective NEX-buyer normally shooting with a DSLR.
↓ Olympus E-P2 fitted with electronic viewfinder (accessory) and hot-shoe mount (standard). When will it be available for the NEX?
↑ And while on the subject, how come my Alpha DSLR lens will not autofocus on the NEX-5?
I am guessing, Sony had to cut some corners when manufacturing the NEX-5. One of them included coming up with a brand new lens mount, the E-mount, and not ensuring direct compatibility with Sony's other lens mount, the A-mount. For me, it's not a deal breaker. But if I was an Alpha DSLR user, with a considerable amount of dollars invested in Sony lenses, I would be somewhat displeased with the company's decision to cut out Alpha lenses autofocus.
As a consolation, when mounted correctly with an adaptor ring, Sony and Zeiss lenses do meter correctly, though, on the NEX-5.
So finally, should I jump on board this new camera trend, or just stick with the more traditional entry-level DSLRs?
When testing the camera, a friend posed this question: "but there has to be something this [NEX-5] can't do that a fully fledged DSLR can do?" "True", I said. "It cannot make that clunking sound of the mirror going up and down that a DSLR makes, simply because there is no mirror. That's about it".
↑ No mirror, just pure sensor goodness.
Tongue-in-cheek aside, the NEX-5 takes as good pictures as any entry and mid-tier DSLR. Its video quality is on par with other DLSRs that shoot 1080p video, but its ease of video operation is currently unrivalled. Price-wise, Sony has aggressively priced it below similar camera class competitors (Olympus EP-series and Panasonic's GF-series), and comparable DSLR models. So what's not to like?
↑ Sony NEX-5 (the smaller of the two) side by side the Nikon D3000 (the larger of the two). Both coupled with respective 18-55mm kit lenses. Size and weight wise you are definitely getting a smaller package with the NEX-5 compared to any DSLR.
Overall, the Sony NEX-5 is very recommendable to any current point & shoot user considering a DSLR upgrade. If you are attached to the size, lightness and portability of your point & shoot, then definitely go for a mirror-less, interchangeable lens camera instead of a larger, heavier DSLR.
On the other hand, if you are a point & shoot user longing for the sturdier feel of a DSLR, a real viewfinder, and need quick access to critical shooting settings, then take a pass on the NEX-5 and go for an entry or mid-tier DSLR instead.
The third audience segment, hardened DSLR users looking for a DSLR-like image quality in a smaller package, should also consider the NEX-5. It is small, it is light, and it does offer great image and video quality. The compromise to make in this case is to endure a clunky menu system, and limiting compatibility with any Sony Alpha DSLR gear you might have.
For the technically interested: All shots are with the Sony NEX-5 coupled with the Sony E-mount 18-55mm OSS or 16mm f2.8 pancake lenses. Locations count London, Rhodes and Vancouver. The product shots of the Sony camera are taken with the Nikon D700 and 105mm f2.8 VR Micro lens using just natural light. For more shots taken with the Sony NEX-5, visit my gallery.
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