The test mirrorless camera Sony NEX-5N: when shooting the Baba Yaga swamp I was unnoticed

Big and heavy brick made of magnesium, glass and silicon, and costs about a quarter of a million Dollars – it’s definitely a pro camera. Tiny Sony NEX in the hands of man can not notice, and recognize it a device with huge capabilities, virtually indistinguishable from the flagship line of cameras with interchangeable lens Sony SLT-A77, today can only specialist. But I think the situation will change soon with the further spread of this new class of cameras among buyers.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX50 compact camera
Photo equipment

Who needs a camera??

When in the previous issues of Photo&Technica magazine we were telling about the first-born of the new class of miniature cameras with interchangeable optics from Sony, about the innovative design, miniaturization, about the system possibilities of interfacing with the lenses for SLR cameras, still there were some important questions about the convenience of control, about the speed of focusing. as a result, the Sony NEX-5 was seriously upgraded and named Sony NEX-5N, and with almost the same look we can say that we have a different level of comfort in shooting.

Let me briefly remind you that the camera has a resolution of 16.1 million pixels, the sensitivity range of 100-25,600 ISO, the shooting speed of up to 10 frames per second in RAW and JPG formats, its weight 260 grams together with the battery but without a lens and the body, which is comparable in size with a pack of cigarettes. The camera’s practical capabilities are just as good as those of the “bigger” models.

It turns out that the camera can be demanded by several groups of consumers. The first and largest group consists of amateur photographers of all levels of experience. They will be very comfortable with the new feature to control the camera via touch screen. Even a child can understand everything intuitively: you can adjust almost any option, there are on-screen tips, you can flip through the photos.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W670 compact camera
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W520 compact camera

Basic functionality

Personally I like to control some functions just by the screen: e.g. to choose a scene important part by simple touch of a finger when focusing or to switch on the tracking mode when focusing. When it is not needed, you can make the screen normal, insensitive to presses.

It’s convenient to compose a frame on a hinged high-resolution screen. There’s an on-screen zoom function, and it helps you make very precise aiming, becoming active when you switch the camera to manual focus mode.

The small size of the camera makes it suitable for the category of photographers who deal with reportage photography and do not want their attention to the scene to distract the photographer. High-speed burst shooting and good frame quality at high sensitivities help with this.

You can buy the camera in different versions and even with different colors. There is just the camera without the lens, and then there are the sets with one or two interchangeable lenses and a small external flash.

But what I find very interesting is the electronic viewfinder, which can be attached to the camera with a few turns of a screw. It increases the size of the camera, but helps those who are used to a traditional frame layout.

In some cases, unwanted vibrations may occur when photographing. Most E mount interchangeable lenses have an optical stabilisation system to suppress them. This is one of the key differences that separates the NEX systems from the big Alpha cameras, where the sensor is stabilized.

the viewfinder provides a third point of reference and the camera is held in the hand much more securely and comfortably, especially when using a long focal-length lens. The viewfinder can tilt up to 90 degrees, it has diopter correction. The rubber eyecup is loose and often falls off the viewfinder, trying to get lost.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W610 compact camera
Photo equipment

A third group of users who are more performance-oriented want to keep all the functions of a high-end camera and combine them with the lenses they have or would like to have. Everyone does it for personal reasons: some for saving weight and size when travelling, some can use the tiny camera as a back-up camera.

And for that you can use the adapter between the A and E mount. The past version of the adapter did not allow for high-quality, fast auto-focusing interchangeable lenses. The new version of LA-EA2 makes things a hundred times better. We see a device with a semi-transparent mirror and the autofocus module on the bottom.

Actually it’s a piece of Translucent tripod socket SLR camera. The LA-EA2 adapter has 15 sensors with 3 crosses – an autofocus system similar to the one in the Sony SLT A65 SLR camera.

With this technology, automatic focusing with any lens on mount A even the heavy 400mm is instant, and tracking focusing is possible in almost any situation, even in a darkened room.

This compatibility transforms the camera from a small amateur unit into a compact digital backdrop. If you connect the lens-less mode, you can make fantastic recording constructions for applications.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX10 compact camera

How it shoots?

I had a chance to take a lot of pictures with a tiny Sony NEX-5N. I have to be honest: I was much more accustomed to the large Alpha series camera.

But my daughter would not let the camera out of her hands and would take pictures with it everywhere: at the disco, on a walk, at school. The usability was quite understandable for the younger generation, the size of the camera with a “pancake” a Sony 2.8/16 mm lens allowed you to simply put it in your pocket, and the small size did not attract attention.

At first we took photos in RAW + JPG format, but after a number of shoots we encountered two peculiarities. The first one is a camera for hobbyists and it produces excellent results. The second peculiarity is that Sony still does not have its own handy software to convert professional format.ARW to regular JPG or TIFF.

That is Image Data Converter v. 4 can do the job, but it does so extremely slowly, and its interface is not very user-friendly. This is how it turned out: all simple cases were shot in JPG, and only the most complicated ones used RAW.

New Sony NEX line of E-bayonet cameras gets expanding fleet of optics. The arsenal includes a 3.5/30 mm lens designed for macro photography, a 55-210 mm long-focus lens, a Zeiss 24 mm high-end lens with a large 1.8 relative aperture and two 16 mm “pancake” attachments that make it an ultra-wide-angle and fisheye lens. Many underwater photographers are looking towards a compact camera, and a number of well-known underwater equipment manufacturers are already selling boxes for the Sony NEX-5N.

Like the older models, the camera can shoot quality video in both auto and manual focus modes. This and the even more advanced Sony NEX-7, which is based on the same sensor and has the same features as the Sony SLT-A77, will clarify further development of the system.

Look at the pictures: many pictures were taken by a child. This is how the convenience of the controls were judged.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 compact camera

Picture Tests

Photo equipment

While the teacher is away, the kids are sharing their secrets. AutoISO 400, 1/60 s, f/4, 2.8/16 mm lens.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W580 compact camera

Discovery on the edge of a trench in the Demian battle. Shooting from ground level, focus point shown directly on the touchscreen. AutoISO 400, 1/40 s, f/6.3, 2.8/16 mm lens.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX100 compact camera

Low point of view and compactness of the camera makes it possible to remain unnoticed in the midst of large crowds. New York Underground. ISO 1600, 1/80 s, f/4.5, Sony 2.8/16 lens.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W610 compact camera

Gremyachii Creek. Shot after sunset with slow shutter speed to convey the movement of the water. ISO 400, 1 second, f/10, 16-50/2.8 SSM lens, tripod, self-timer, electronic front curtain.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W620 compact camera

Best friends. The standard 18-55/3.5-5.6 zoom at fully open aperture provides sufficient sharpness on the subject important part, while blurring the unimportant details. ISO 3200, 1/100 second, natural light indoors.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 compact camera

Macro mode detail of an ornamental flower. I shot in bursts to prevent double loops when I pressed the button, since the macro lens is not equipped with a stabilization system. ISO 400, 1/30 s, f/16, Sony 50 mm Macro.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W520 compact camera

Baba Yaga’s swamp. Extreme contrast in the subject and a very low point of view. It used HDR mode with a degree of correction of three steps, which turned out to be insufficient. ISO 200, 1/80 s, f/10, 2.8/16 mm lens.

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