I see you have and are now using the new Sony NEX-5 that you ordered a few weeks ago.  The pictures in this week's column taken with the Sony sure look clean and sharp.


Rick -  This is a great question and one which involves several areas so I'm going to answer it paragraph by paragraph.  Read on please.


As you may recall acting upon your advice in Nov of last year, I purchased the Canon S90 and it is a fine camera and meets my needs except in two areas. The 4x optical zoom is very limiting in shooting telephoto pictures and the video 640 x 720 does not give the great results.


Keep in mind that ANY modern digital camera has compromises and selecting one is often simply a matter of deciding which compromises you can live with and/or afford.

With that said I can understand how the S90's 4x zoom could sometimes be limiting and for sure the video on most any point and shoot class camera is less than desirable.


My questions revolve around how much better is the Sony NEX-5A with the DSLR (Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor (23.4 X 15.6mm)), and the video AVCHD: 1920 x 1080/ 60i than the S90. In your opinion, would it be worth upgrading (for $700) to the Sony NEX-5?


The APC-S sized sensor is used in 95% of the DSLRs on the market.  It would be an understatement to say you'll see a dramatic difference in low light capability when using higher ISO's and overall image acuity.  Whether or not its worth a certain dollar amount is a question only you can answer.  But indeed, there is a huge difference in the resulting files.


If I read the NEX-5A specs correctly, it does not have an optical telephoto capability built in. The option would be to purchase the NEX-5K with a different lens. Is this correct or am I missing something?


The Sony NEX-5 series cameras are all 'detachable lens' cameras, which means there are no optical features "built in."  You will buy this camera with either the 14-55mm or 16mm kit lens.  Each has its advantages.  Sony will soon make available a longer telephoto and of course as this is a brand new mount they'll be releasing new lenses in the future.


Would the picture quality in low light situations show big improvement over of the same pictures taken with the Canon S90?


In ANY low light capture exposure is key, properly captured you'll see huge differences between the two cameras.. but in the order of 2-3 stops.. don't expect miracles.. only significant improvement.


Would/do you find the need to attach the flash a real incontinence when shooting in different environments like a birthday party etc.?


You mean inconvenience? :)  Yes, sometimes the requirement for flash is inconvenient but with the Sony NEX-5 you'll find it more of an option.  It's low light high ISO performance will allow you to take available light  pictures in these circumstances, or you can activate the included flash and shoot higher quality lower ISO images.  Flash, used properly, can dramatically enhance a image.  Unfortunately it's most often not used properly and they have that heavy "flash look" which is undesirable. 

With that said, I've found the included tiny flash for the Sony NEX-5 totally unobtrusive, easily left on all the time and 'flipped up' into the ready position when needed.. and it's "fill" capabilities for events in smaller rooms are quite good.  I'm very pleased with the automatic fill from this combination.


My use of any camera is for personal pleasure only. I just enjoy taking many pictures, then returning home and editing out 70-80% of the shots.


What you use the camera for isn't as deciding as you might think.  I know many guys who have gear far exceeding my own and its all for personal pleasure.  One just purchased a $55,000 MF digital camera and over $80,000 worth of extra lenses and accessories.  Its for his pleasure too.. but he gets more pleasure with higher quality images.. :)



I recently purchased the wife a Sony DSC-HX5BV and it really produces great quality photos. It has the 10x optical Zoom and AVCHD: 1920 x 1080 (59.94i, Interlace) video capability. It is a nice point and shoot and she makes good use of it during our travels.

I would ask you to check it out as you offered in this week's column but it would require me flying from Walnut Creek to BKK. NOT. 555

LOL!  What better reason than to make a fun run to Bangkok?  I'll expect you early next week.. :)

Take care Rick  I suspect you'll really enjoy the Sony.. but keep in mind there is no perfect camera out there.  It's all merely a matter of degrees..


Thanks in advance for any information, advice, or help in understanding the Sony NEX-5 better.


Please submit your questions to  All questions will be answered and most will show up in the weekly column.