(very) Mini review
Just back from a break to the lovely island of Jersey. Before I went I had vague desires to pick up a new compact camera whilst I was out there (taking advantage of the tax free channel island goodness). My usual Nikon camera gear is heavy, very heavy, and a pain to lug around on a job, let alone on holiday. Which is why these days I never take my cameras on vacation.
So, enter the Sony NEX-5. I’ve been out of the game for the last few years with all this micro four-thirds and mini ‘mirrorless dslr’ new stuff, but I’m glad I’ve dabbled back in. I’m not going to do any sort of techy review of this camera, there are loads out there – suffice to say though – for a compact camera about the size of a pack of Marlboro Lights, I am mightily impressed. This mini marvel packs an APS-C sized sensor – that’s the same size that sits in my D7000 which is a technical feat when you look at them sitting next to one another. It was this large sensor (and overall build quality/feel) that swung me to this Sony model over the smaller four-thirds sensor of the Panasonic GF2 or GF3 that I’d had in mind to pick up before the trip. The excellent deal I got and £50 cashback offer that was running also helped. I went for the twin lens kit bundle that includes the 18-55 zoom lens and the 16mm wide angle 2.8 prime ‘pancake’ lens which really is tiny, and makes the camera truly pocketable if you have this one attached. With the 18-55 lens on it’s no longer technically pocket-sized, but it looks like a mini dslr and feels really balanced with the well designed grip on the side.
Stills quality, from my brief time so far with the camera, is pretty impressive from what I can tell. I’ll confess to not even getting the 16mm lens on there yet for proper testing, but I suspect the clarity and quality from this will be better than the 18-55 delivers as it’s a prime. The pic above (taken using the 18-55) looks sharp enough, but full size it’s not quite as sharp as I was hoping for, truth be told. I’m probably expecting too much from this little fella, and it’ll certainly never replace my D3 with one of the holy trinity 2.8 lenses strapped on, but then again that’s not what I bought it for.
I was also very keen to see what the NEX-5 could deliver in terms of video. Full 1080 AVCHD goodness in a tiny box basically. Again not up to par with my D7000 and a big expensive Nikon lens on the front, but really quite impressive for what the Sony NEX-5 is.
See my quick wee Jersey composition below which gives you a taster. Every shot in here is handheld – no tripods, glide tracks, support rig or any of my other video gear was available unfortunately. But, the gear you have with you is the best gear you’ve got, so I used my Rayban sunglasses with one eyepiece held precarioulsy in front of the lens in every shot here as a makeshift ND grad filter (like the top pic above), to try and help the situation and add some depth/ balance the bright skies. Very very awkward to physically hold and do, but kind of worked out nice….
by Dan Dunkley