My first images with the Sony NEX 5N

Well, after much thought I upgraded the Sony NEX 5N. The NEX 5 was a great camera but I couldn’t live without a viewfinder so when I got a chance to “get rid” of it, I purchased the NEX 5N model. I was really not expecting much of an improvement despite the reviews I had read, but this is really a different camera. I am not going to enter into much technical details since the web is full of 5N analytical reviews, so I will just point the things I liked most.

First of all, it’s fast, and I mean very fast. It fires like a machine gun and it’s great for capturing the subject instantly. The new 16mp sensor is a blast and its high ISO performance is fantastic. I can now shoot at available light even with slow lenses like the Voigtlander 15mm and 21mm. It also shoots great video (in which I am very interested lately). Finally, the touch screen is very very useful. I never thought that I would like a touch screen on a camera, but in many situations it compensates the lack of dedicated buttons (which they are present of the NEX 7). Especially, the Custom Menu where you can store five of your favorite functions, has become a breeze to use since when I press the center button it presents me on the bottom of the screen my stored presets, so with only two movements I can get what I want.

It’s really a massive improvement over the NEX 5 since it addresses all the complaints I had. Combine it with the wonderful OLED viewfinder and that’s a camera I will certainly use a lot.

Now, I chose the 5N over the NEX 7 for a couple of reasons. First of all, all reviews point that the NEX 7 sensor does not get well with legacy wide angle lenses. I own the Voigtlander 15mm and 21mm lenses, and I am also thinking of adding some day the Voigtlander 12mm. So, the 5N was the way to go since I am more into wide angle than telephoto lenses. Also, the ISO performance of the 5N is better. I can live without 24 megapixels, I mostly do landscapes at high resolutions and for that I prefer my medium format film cameras. Also, the Tri-Navi system of the NEX 7 is great but with the addition of the touch screen I am mostly covered, it’s the only advantage over the 5N, and that was enough to make me go for the NEX 7.

I had the chance to shoot with the 5N during the last three days and got some good images while I was traveling. It even survived a drop in deep snow during its first day (!), the camera was severely wet and frozen but fortunately there were no consequences.

All images in this post were shot with the Sony NEX 5N with the 18-55 zoom lens. The panoramic image below is a panoramic stitch which resulted in a 85 megapixels pano. The very fast operation of the 5N allowed me to get these shots quickly which is essential when making a stitch panorama.

©2012 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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5 Responses to My first images with the Sony NEX 5N

  1. Dimitrios says:

    I was just wondering if you prefer the nex-5n over the fuji x100…
    You shoot with both cameras and you probably can help me selecting my next “small” camera.
    I don’t care about zoom. 35mm is perfect for me.
    Ps: I like your work, that’s why I’m asking…
    Thanks in advance.

    • kbesios says:

      Thank you very much for your comment.

      It’s not an easy question to answer since I always write my posts based exclusively on my personal tastes and style of photography but I will try to make some key points.

      If we talk about image quality, then the answer is easy, the Fuji X100 wins. The Fujinon 23mm f2 is a superb lens and it’s matched to the sensor which means you get wonderful images. The color of the Fuji is beautiful and the way this camera nails white balance is stunning. Also it has the best fill flash I have ever seen (in addition to that you can sync flash in any speed since its a leaf shutter). I have mostly shoot JPEGS because they are excellent, but also the RAW files are fantastic. ISO performance is great and the hybrid viewfinder is the next best thing to a Leica.

      Now about the things I didn’t like.

      It’s a slow camera by every means. Lousy interface, slow auto focus and even slower manual focus. There were times where I could shoot faster with my Leica M8 (which is a manual focus camera) than the X100.

      Now, the Sony NEX 5N is a very very fast camera. In addition to that it offers automatons that I find very useful, so for me its a lot easier to use the NEX.

      The catch here is that you don’t care about zooms. If 35mm is your favorite focal length, then the only way to match the X100’s image quality is to buy the Zeiss 24mm f1.8 lens. If you do that then the price goes very high. If you also want to work with a viewfinder you must purchase the OLED viewfinder for the 5N which is also very expensive. With this combo the NEX could cost you double the price of the X100. Also, keep in mind that the X100 compared to the NEX 5N-OLED viewfinder-Zeiss 24mm combo is much more compact camera, more convenient for every day walks since it can even fit in a jacket’s pocket. I wouldn’t easily put the NEX with the external viewfinder in my pocket since the interface connection doesn’t seem very stable to me.

      For me, the X100 was a great experience but I will put it on sale since I already own the Leica M8 (I much prefer a rangefinder camera so I’m keeping the M8 and the X100 has to go).

      I hope I was helpful, If you have more questions I would be glad to offer my assistance.

      • Dimitrios says:

        You were absolutely clear…
        The price of nex-5n with the zeiss is not for me. So I will give a try to x100 (having in mind though, the limitations you mentioned).
        Moreover is a very beautiful camera.

        Once again thanks for your informative and prompt reply and thanks for sharing inspiring photos.

  2. Frank says:

    The blues of the pano stitched photo are odd, light blue, darker blue, light blue again, I know how it happened, probably from your PL filter, but the sky doesn’t look natural to me. Photos don’t have to be a representation of nature, you can do what you like best, of course.

    • kbesios says:

      You are absolutely right, I forgot my polarizer on the lens, a grave mistake when stitching images (I hadn’t noticed it until you mentioned it !!)

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